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US: Former President Jimmy Carter makes rare appearance at wife Rosalynn's memorial | WATCH

Former United States First Lady and renowned humanitarian Rosalynn Carter, who was an influential figure in US politics, passed away at the age of 96 on November 19. She was married to Jimmy Carter for 77 years since 1946, making them the longest-married presidential couple in the US.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Atlanta Updated on: November 29, 2023 11:43 IST
Former US President Jimmy Carter at his wife Rosalynn's
Image Source : AP Former US President Jimmy Carter at his wife Rosalynn's memorial service in Atlanta.

Former US President Jimmy Carter, aged 99, made a rare public appearance by leaving hospice care to join current President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden to attend his wife Rosalynn Carter's memorial service in Glenn Memorial Church in Atlanta. Rosalynn, a mental health advocate and humanitarian, passed away on November 19 at the age of 96 in her home in Georgia.

Jimmy Carter made his appearance in a wheelchair that left other attendees deeply shaken, reclining and covered by a blanket featuring his wife's face. Their children, Chip, Amy, Jeff and Jack, as well as their grandchildren, were also seen beside their father at the service, while the Bidens joined them in the front row.

India Tv - Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter's casket arrives at the Atlanta memorial.

Image Source : APFormer First Lady Rosalynn Carter's casket arrives at the Atlanta memorial.

Former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the other living former first ladies, Melania Trump, Michelle Obama and Laura Bush. Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff also paid their respects to Rosalynn in Atlanta. Former Presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama and George W. Bush were invited but did not attend.

"My mother was the glue that held our family together, through the ups and downs and thicks and thins of our family’s politics. As individuals, she believed in us and took care of us...She told me that when dad started running for president, that the thing that she enjoyed the most were the people that she met across the country," said James Earl 'Chip' Carter.

The loving relationship between Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter was one of the most poignant highlights of the service. The Carters have been married for 77 years, making them the longest-married presidential couple in US history.

"Their partnership and love story was a defining feature of her life," said Amy Carter, who read out a love letter written by Jimmy to Rosalynn 75 years ago, when he was still serving in the Navy. "My darling, every time I have ever been away from you, I have been thrilled when I returned to discover just how wonderful you are... When I see you, I fall in love with you all over again," wrote Jimmy in the letter read by Amy.

"Today, a grateful nation remembers Rosalynn Carter, a First Lady who walked her own path, inspiring us all along the way," said President Biden on X. The Bidens have remained long-term friends of the Carters.

Rosalynn Carter’s funeral will take place on Wednesday in Plains, with a closed-door service at Maranatha Baptist Church, where the Carters have been members since returning to Georgia after his presidency. She will be buried after a private graveside service in a plot the couple will share, visible from the front porch of the home they built before Jimmy Carter’s first political campaign in 1962.

About Rosalynn Carter

Rosalynn Carter was an influential figure in US politics and spent most of her life working on humanitarian projects alongside her husband with the foundation of the Carter Centre. She was a fierce advocate of mental health reform and raised funds for efforts to aid the mentally ill and the homeless.

India Tv - Rosalynn Carter in New Delhi, India in 1978.

Image Source : APRosalynn Carter in New Delhi, India in 1978.

"Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished... She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me," said ex-President Jimmy Carter in a statement after she passed away in hospice care after suffering from dementia.

“From her days as a US Navy spouse, to the Georgia Governor’s Mansion, to her tenure as First Lady of the United States, and her later work at the Carter Center and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, she leaves behind a legacy of extraordinary accomplishment and national service,” said former US President Donald Trump said on Truth Social.

Born in Plains, Georgia on August 18, 1927, Rosalynn was the eldest of four children, who took on much of the family's responsibility when her father died while she was young. She contributed to the family by working after school in a beauty parlour. After a blind date, Rosalynn married Jimmy Carter in 1946 and became his closest advisor when the latter became the US President in 1977 - sitting in Cabinet meetings, speaking on controversial issues and representing her husband on diplomatic trips.

She went on to play a crucial role in restoring the country's trust in the US presidency after the infamous Watergate scandal that resulted in the resignation of President Richard Nixon. She also played a vital role in emphasising mental health and problems faced by elderly citizens.

She is survived by her children — Jack, Chip, Jeff, and Amy — and 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. One of her grandsons died in 2015, according to the Carter Centre. 

(with inputs from AP)

ALSO READ | Former US First Lady Rosalynn Carter dies at 96 | Five things to know about her


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