OAN’s Brooke Mallory
6:07 PM – Sunday, October 1, 2023
Jimmy Carter, America’s 39th president, will reportedly break from his church habits this Sunday and forego his custom of watching services online to spend time in Plains, Georgia, with his wife, Rosalynn, and their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in celebration of his 99th birthday.
The event will be held in the same one-story home where the Carters resided before he was chosen for the Georgia Senate for the first time in 1962. For the former president’s family, it is a chance to celebrate a unique heritage.
“The remarkable piece to me and I think to my family is that while my grandparents have accomplished so much, they have really remained the same sort of South Georgia couple that lives in a 600-person village where they were born,” said Carter’s grandson, Jason Carter, who chairs the board at The Carter Center, which his grandparents founded in 1982.
Both grandparents have always “made it easy for us, as a family, to be as normal as we can be,” according to Jason Carter.
After a string of hospital stays, the Carter family announced in February that their father was forgoing more medical treatments and accepting home hospice care.
Carter, who conquered cancer at the age of 90 and learned to walk again through rehabilitation at the age of 94 after having his hip replaced, managed to overcome all odds.
“If Jimmy Carter were a tree, he’d be an towering, old Southern oak,” said Donna Brazile, former national chairperson and presidential campaign manager. “He’s as good as they come and tough as they come.”
Never undervalue Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, said Jill Stuckey, a lifelong Plains resident who frequently visits the former first couple.
A deluge of positive messages from international leaders were made public, and notable celebrities even sported “Jimmy Carter 99” hats, many of which highlighted Carter’s four decades of humanitarian efforts throughout the world after leaving the White House.
Stuckey cited Carter’s efforts to end river blindness and the Guinea worm disease while promoting peace and democracy in several nations.
She mentioned the 32 books he has published and his extensive involvement with “Habitat for Humanity,” building houses for low-income individuals.
Carter’s concentration on diplomacy, his emphasis on the environment before climate change was a popular topic, and his emphasis on efficient administration were highlighted in many birthday social media posts.
The majority of the Carter Center’s work on disease eradication takes place in underdeveloped nations.
While growing up in extreme poverty in the rural Deep South during the Great Depression, Jimmy and Roslaynn Carter were first exposed to river blindness.
The Center’s work for global democracy has reached nations that, in the decades after World War II or when Carter was born in 1924, were either heavily influenced by the United States or were still a part of various European empires.
Carter, meanwhile, has recently said that his own nation is more of an “oligarchy” than a fully functional democracy. The center has subsequently begun to follow and monitor American elections.
Congress enacted extensive immigration restrictions the year Carter was born, significantly reducing Ellis Island’s role as a gateway to the country. Now, while Washington continues a long-running debate over immigration policy, the naturalization ceremony to commemorate Carter’s 99th birthday will take place.
Carter was also born during the Jim Crow era of segregation, when the Ku Klux Klan openly marched in Washington and in state capitals. The former president established new benchmarks for selecting Black Americans to senior government positions, both as governor and president.
According to Jason Carter, recognizing his grandfather’s influence requires restraining oneself from judging whether he was successful in every endeavor he undertook.
The key point, he argued, is to understand the broad implications of appreciating and working to help others who are less fortunate on an individual basis.
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