Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Former First Ladies Melania Trump, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and others were amongst the guests at Rosalynn Carter’s memorial service to pay tribute to 'Steel Magnolia'.
On November 19th, Rosalynn passed away at the age of 96. She shared over 77 years of marriage with President Jimmy Carter, serving as his devoted partner throughout.
The procession carrying Carter's casket moved through her hometown of Sumter County, drawing hundreds of mourners bidding their farewells. The motorcade made stops in Plains, their hometown, and at Georgia Southwestern College, where she graduated in 1946. Two funeral services are scheduled for the former First Lady—one in Atlanta on Tuesday and another in Plains on Wednesday.
The memorial service held today was attended by various dignitaries and politicians, including President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.
Highlighted below are some of the attendees at today's memorial, offering reflections on the late wife of Jimmy Carter and the enduring legacy she leaves behind.
Arriving alongside current President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, and Bill and Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, along with these dignitaries, attended to pay tribute to Jimmy Carter's wife and acknowledge their shared legacy.
President Carter, grieving the loss of his wife, made his first public appearance in nearly a year and opted not to address the gathering during the service.
Michelle Obama, dressed in all black for the occasion with her hair styled in a high ponytail, had previously penned a heartfelt tribute after Mrs Carter's passing. She shared a photograph of the two during their time in the White House.
Reflecting on their connection, Obama expressed, "When our family was in the White House, every so often, Rosalynn would join me for lunch, offering a few words of advice and always — always — a helping hand. She reminded me to make the role of First Lady my own, just like she did. I’ll always remain grateful for her support and her generosity."
Melania Trump was also photographed at the funeral in a grey coat walking alongside Obama, the Clintons, and First Lady Laura Bush. Despite the differences of opinion between their husbands, she wrote a tribute to Carter following the announcement of her death, commending her for her support of President Carter.
“She leaves behind an important legacy in her work to destigmatise mental health,” she wrote. “We join our fellow citizens in sending our condolences to President Carter and their family.”
During the ceremony, First Lady Jill Biden appeared solemn. President Biden conveyed a statement on behalf of their family in response to Mrs. Carter’s passing, expressing, “On behalf of a grateful nation, we send our love to the entire Carter family and the countless people whose lives are better, fuller, and brighter because of Rosalynn Carter.”
In a heartfelt tribute, Hillary Clinton shared her deep connection with Mrs. Carter, stating that they had been friends for 40 years. Clinton expressed, “Rosalynn Carter will forever be remembered as the embodiment of a life lived with purpose. I’m grateful for more than 40 years of her friendship and thinking today of President Carter, her family, and all the many people who loved her,” in a written message.
Laura Bush, the wife of George W. Bush, also shared a statement. “We are saddened by the passing of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. She was a woman of dignity and strength.
There was no greater advocate of President Carter, and their partnership set a wonderful example of loyalty and fidelity. She leaves behind an important legacy in her work to destigmatise mental health.
We join our fellow citizens in sending our condolences to President Carter and their family.”
Amy Carter, Rosalynn and Jimmy’s daughter shared an emotional speech at the funeral. “My mom spent most of her life in love, with my dad,” she said. “There their partnership and love story was a defining feature of her life. Because he isn’t able to speak to you today. I’m going to share some of his words about loving and missing.”
A highlight of her speech was the moment when she read a letter that Jimmy Carter wrote to Rosalynn 75 years ago, while he was 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. While I was away I tried to convince myself you could not be as sweet and beautiful as I remember.”