Memorial Service Honors Rosalynn Carter
In a poignant tribute service held at Glenn Memorial Church at Emory University in Atlanta, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter was honored for her humanitarian contributions and love story with former President Jimmy Carter. The service, attended by dignitaries including President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and all living former first ladies, celebrated the life of Rosalynn, who passed away on Nov. 19 at the age of 96.
The service, attended by political leaders and dignitaries, marked a rare public appearance by the 99-year-old former President Jimmy Carter, who has been in hospice care since February. Draped in a blanket featuring Rosalynn’s image, Carter paid tribute to his wife of 77 years, the longest marriage in U.S. presidential history. The Carters’ enduring love story and commitment to humanitarian causes were central themes throughout the ceremony.
Rosalynn Carter, known for her advocacy in mental health, was celebrated for her “full participation” in leading the nation, as mentioned by Kathryn Cade, the vice chair of the Carter Center. The tribute highlighted Rosalynn’s efforts to alleviate suffering, support caregivers, advocate for equal rights, and destigmatize mental illness. The former first lady’s commitment to a more caring society, devoid of personal fame or fortune, was emphasized by Cade.
The service included heartfelt remarks from the Carter family, with son James “Chip” Carter III offering a touching tribute to his mother. He recounted personal anecdotes, expressing gratitude for Rosalynn’s unwavering support during his struggles. Grandson Jason Carter shared stories of Rosalynn’s adventurous spirit, her role as the “rock” of the family, and her practice of tai chi. He noted that her life itself was a sermon, echoing the sentiments expressed by Rev. Raphael Warnock.
Amy Carter, the Carters’ daughter, shared a letter written by Jimmy Carter to Rosalynn 75 years ago when he was serving in the Navy. The letter, expressing the former president’s enduring love, added a poignant touch to the tribute. Amy Carter, often seen holding her father’s hand throughout the service, reflected on her mother’s lifelong love for Jimmy Carter.
The service featured musical performances by artists Rosalynn loved, including pianist David Osborne, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chamber Chorus, and family friends Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. The presence of political leaders, including President Biden, former Presidents Clinton and Bush, and former first ladies, underscored the national significance of Rosalynn Carter’s legacy.
The attendees, including dignitaries and family members, shared laughter and tears as they remembered the remarkable life of Rosalynn Carter. As the service concluded, plans were outlined for a funeral procession to Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, where a private interment would take place at the Carter family residence. Rosalynn Carter’s significant contributions to society and her enduring love story with Jimmy Carter were celebrated as a testament to a life well-lived.