In a touching tribute service in Georgia, former President Jimmy Carter bid farewell to his wife of 77 years, Rosalynn Carter, who recently passed away at the age of 96. This rare public appearance by Mr. Carter, aged 99 and in hospice care for the past 10 months, marked the end of a remarkable partnership and an enduring love story.
The Glue of the Carter Family
As Mr. Carter arrived at the service in a wheelchair, his four children by his side, the sentiment was clear: Rosalynn was the glue that held their family together. Chip Carter, the couple’s son, shared heartfelt words, emphasizing the pivotal role his mother played in their lives.
A Life of Service and Dedication
Rosalynn Carter’s life was not only defined by her role as the First Lady during Jimmy Carter’s presidency from 1977-1981 but also by her commitment to advocacy. Diagnosed with dementia in May, she entered hospice care in Georgia, leaving behind a legacy of service and dedication.
Uniting the Political Spectrum
The memorial service drew a distinguished crowd, reflecting the bipartisan respect Mrs. Carter garnered. From President Joe Biden to former President Bill Clinton and the living first ladies, the gathering spoke volumes about the impact she had across party lines.
A Lasting Marriage
The Carters’ 77-year marriage stands as the longest of any first couple in the history of the United States. Their enduring commitment was evident in the presence of powerful political figures who came together to pay their respects.
The Carter Center: A Testament to Advocacy
Beyond her role as the First Lady, Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter founded the Carter Center in 1982. This non-profit organization became a platform for continued advocacy, focusing on mental health, early childhood immunization, and various humanitarian causes.
Remembering Mrs. Carter’s Advocacy
Reflecting on Mrs. Carter’s advocacy work, it’s essential to highlight her efforts in reducing the stigma attached to mental illnesses. From her role as the first lady of Georgia to her honorary chairmanship of the President’s Commission on Mental Health, she played a crucial part in the passage of a 1980 act funding local mental health centers.
A Love Letter and Enduring Memories
The memorial service included touching moments, such as Amy Carter reading a love letter written by President Carter while serving in the US Navy. The ceremony also featured Mrs. Carter’s favorite Bible passages and a musical performance of John Lennon’s “Imagine” by Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.
The Journey Home to Plains
After the service, Mrs. Carter began her final journey home to Plains, where the Carters had called home for decades. A private funeral service for family and close friends is scheduled at the Maranatha Baptist Church, with Mrs. Carter’s burial at the Carter Home and Garden, part of the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park.
In concluding this tribute to Rosalynn Carter, it’s evident that her legacy extends beyond the pages of history. Her life of advocacy, love, and commitment serves as an inspiration. As we bid farewell, we honor not just a former First Lady but a woman whose impact transcends political divides and whose memory will endure through the ages.
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