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The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

More than a First Lady: Remembering Rosalynn Carter

More+than+a+First+Lady%3A+Remembering+Rosalynn+Carter

Rosalynn Carter, First Lady to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, died at the age of 96 on November 19, 2023. Her friends, family, and people of the United States are saddened by the loss of such a devoted, caring, and passionate woman who impacted so many through her advocacy work. While she will be remembered for all that she accomplished as First Lady, her true legacy lies in the work she did outside the White House walls. She was truly more than a First Lady.

Carter passed away peacefully in her home in Plains, Georgia. A memorial service was held on the subsequent Tuesday, and a more intimate funeral was held  the day after. Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter were married for 77 years, and he had previously said that “Rosalynn was [his] equal partner in everything [he] ever accomplished… As long as Rosalynn was in the world, [he] always knew somebody loved and supported [him].” Even in poor health, Carter was able to attend both the memorial and funeral for his wife.

Photo of former First Ladies Melania Trump (front), Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and Hillary Clinton (back) from Getty Images

One thing that made the former First Lady extraordinary was her ability to bring people together, despite differing political views and personal values. Under these unfortunate circumstances, all of the living former First Ladies (Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, and Melania Trump), as well as current First Lady Jill Biden, attended Carter’s memorial service, alongside President Biden, Vice President Harris, and former President Bill Clinton. Even with differing views and opinions, these prominent  Americans came together to honor Carter’s life and legacy.

Carter was a champion of mental health and women’s rights. She dedicated her life to helping others and to serving as a wife, mother, diplomat, advocate, author, business manager, and political strategist. While she was very involved in many projects, her main use of her platform was to raise awareness regarding the mental health system in the United States. She influenced her husband to create numerous pieces of legislation during his presidency, such as the Mental health Systems Act of 1980, which called for large investments in treatment. 

Despite many acts being stripped of funding or revoked, she was extremely persistent. She wrote a book about mental health  titled Within Our Reach and created a mental health program within the Carter Center. Long after Jimmy Carter was president, Rosalynn continued to advocate for mental health and helped increase federal funding for research, as well. Her son, Chip Carter, spoke during the memorial and said that “[His mother] will be missed not only by [their] family but by the many people who have better mental health care and access to resources for caregiving today.”

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About the Contributor
Alex Chizzik, Senior Staff Writer
Alex Chizzik (’24) is thrilled to be a Senior Staff Writer for The Echo. She loves learning about current events, whether they be local or worldwide. In her free time, Alex enjoys dancing, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family.