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CNN Live Event/Special
Memorial Service For Rosalynn Carter. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired November 28, 2023 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JASON CARTER, GRANDSON OF PRESIDENT & MRS. CARTER: Siberia, visited 120 countries, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Fuji and summited peaks in Bolivia and other places.
And I know that she went to the Everest base camp in Nepal. And I can guarantee you that she was looking up at that thing and thinking, if they would just let me.
CARTER: And based on what she did, I think she could have done it.
She was born just a few years after women got the right to vote, in this small town in the south where people were still plowing their fields behind mules.
But she was made for these long journeys and she was made to summit these mountains.
As they said before, when she started in politics, she'd never talked to a group of people bigger than her Sunday School class. And then she elected her governor and president.
She shaped our national policies. She faced down dictators herself on issues of human rights.
She built the Carter Center from an idea into a powerhouse, human rights. And as the chair of that board, I've watched her do it. And it's because she poured out her love.
All over the world and especially, as Kathy said, the end of the road. Her 122 countries included Liberia and Mali and Sudan. And it was natural for her to open up her heart to those people not with pity but as partners.
And she knew in those communities and recognized that ancient steel from rural women who carried their children from their communities on their backs. Whether they're from a 600-person town in south Georgia or South Sudan.
As the song says, she knew what comes back when you give your love away. And for my grandmother, what came back was this unshakeable strength and this powerful faith and not just an abiding love but a fierce, determined adventurous love that sustained her on all of these long journeys.
Journeys, like Kathy mentioned of her Guinea Worm eradication, which has taken almost 40 years.
But the Carter Center's unwavering efforts and her powerful partners in these tiny villages took a disease that affected three and a half million people every year in the poorest parts of the world.
And this year there won't be millions of cases, Paw-Paw. This year, we've had seven total cases.
And we're in the last mile because she could see far. And she kept going, was not afraid of these long journeys.
Her advocacy for mental health was a 50-year climb that is as remarkable as any other and has been mentioned already.
But if you imagine just how far our society has come in the last five years on issues of mental health and you think that she decided in 1970 to tackle the ancient stigma associated with mental illness, it is remarkable how far she could see and how far she was willing to walk.
And that effort changed lives and it saved lives, including in my own family. She was made for these long journeys.
The Rosalynn Carter Institute helps caregivers because you can't journey alone. Even the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail goes through 3,000 gardens from Mexico to Canada to help monarch butterflies on their journeys.
John Lewis once said that in all of his marches, he only really learned one thing: Don't let them turn you around. That was my grandmother to a "T."
One of my last memories of her was in a hospital. We were there for my grandfather, but she had her own physical limitations that made it hard for her to walk. She had to practice.
She was ready to go for one of these walks and she picked up this cane, and I looked at the cane. She looked at me and she said, "You know, it's not a cane." And I said -- she said, "It's a trekking pole."
CARTER: She said, "It's the exact same kind those women use when they go to the South Pole."
I watched her walk down that hall with that trekking pole, and I followed her. And I just pray that we never lose sight of that path.
Amen and thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED BOY: A reading from the gospel of Matthew, Chapter 5, Verses 6 through 8. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
PASTOR TONY LOWDEN, PRESIDENT & MRS. CARTER'S PERSONAL PASTOR: Will you stand?
LOWDEN: You may be seated.
I also want to remind you that I'm going to give you some directions for the house and that if you violate those directions, some of the first ladies' bodyguards might just -- you got my message.
Remain seated when the procession starts out, out of respect for the family.
You've heard everything about this great soul. You heard that she was from Plains, Georgia. You heard the fact that she loved and she had compassion even for a butterfly.
You heard the fact how she loved her grandchildren and, oh, how she loved J.C. -- Jimmy Carter. I also have to tell you that she loved J.C. -- Jesus Christ.
And I believe the reason why she did so much of the things she did, because she read in Spanish and English that faith without works is dead being alone.
So when she read the word of God, it went to her head and then it got in her heart. And somewhere in the kingdom of God, Ambassador Young, she decided to put her hands to the things of God, from her head to her heart to her hands.
And, Mr. President, she made it a habit. From her head to her heart to her hands and she made it a habit.
If you love our first lady, who was global, make it a habit. Take your passion and make it a habit. Link your passion up with compassion. And then there will be peace. And then there will be love. And then we'll have a house united, not divided.
She would say thank you to all the first ladies that came and stopped all the traffic in Georgia and Atlanta.
LOWDEN: Mr. President, she'd say thank you to the time you came down to visit President Jimmy Carter and sat in the living room, you and your beautiful bride.
She would say thanks to all of you.
Governor, she said, she would say thank you.
But I want to tell you something. To all the staff, she would say thank you.
But there's somebody in here that's very important and only them are going to get what I'm about to say. There are some folks that make all this possible. Their sole mission is to make sure you get home safe.
For 46 years, the men and women of the Secret Service has made sure that she got home safe. For 46 years, they left their families and traveled with Rosalynn to make sure, Garth, that she got home safe. For 46 years, they gave themselves.
Jason, they had ice cream, peanut butter ice cream. They did all the things that she did.
For 46 years, they made sure she got home safe. I want to tell each and every one of them, she would tell you, thank you, you got me home safe.
LOWDEN: Oftentimes, Mr. President, we don't acknowledge those who keep us safe.
Rosalynn Carter's in Heaven, and she did the work of the Lord in the kingdom all around the world. And Don and all the directors for 46 years got her and her family home safe. And I say thank you to each and every one of you.
Those that are standing post, and those that are listening on their radios right now, thank you. And she loves you and ain't nothing you can do about it.
LOWDEN: We're going to have the Benediction Prayer. They're going to sing.
And I remind you, please, sir, please, ma'am, the Bible says I beseech you, Governor, don't move.
LOWDEN: Father, in the name of Jesus, thank you for this glorious celebration of this wonderful great soul that has fallen in our midst. But she is not dead, she's alive in each and every one of us.
She's alive in 122 countries. She's alive in every hall in our government. She's alive in every non-profit in this nation and around the world. She's alive. She's resting in the arms of Jesus.
We ask that you comfort each and every soul here today as her sons and daughters of the Secret Service take her back home to Plains.
In Jesus' name I pray, amen.
(MUSIC & CASKET RECESSIONAL OUT OF CHURCH)
(MUSIC & CASKET/FAMILY RECESSIONAL OUT OF CHURCH)
UNIDENTIFIED SERVICEMEMBER: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED SERVICEMEMBER: Forward March.
UNIDENTIFIED SERVICEMEMBER: (INAUDIBLE)