The casket of former first lady Rosalynn Carter is covered with a flower arrangement during a repose service at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, Pool)

Jimmy Carter set to lead presidents, first ladies in mourning and celebrating Rosalynn Carter

By Bill Barrow – Associated Press|

ATLANTA (AP) — Rosalynn Carter will be memorialized Tuesday with classical music and beloved hymns, some of her favorite Biblical passages, and a rare gathering of all living U.S. first ladies and multiple presidents, including her 99-year-old husband Jimmy Carter.

The funeral at Glenn Memorial Church in Atlanta falls on the second of a three-day schedule of public events celebrating the former first lady and global humanitarian who died Nov. 19 at home in Plains, Georgia, at the age of 96. Tributes began Monday in the Carters’ native Sumter County and continued in Atlanta as she lay in repose at The Jimmy Carter Presidential Center.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden, longtime friends of the Carters, lead the list of dignitaries joining the widowed former president in Atlanta. Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with former first ladies Melania Trump, Michelle Obama and Laura Bush, will pay their respects, as will Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his wife Marty Kemp. Former Presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama and George W. Bush were invited but will not attend.

Jimmy Carter’s participation in the events has been a day-by-day question; he is 10 months into home hospice care. The Carter Center confirmed his plans to attend the Tuesday service. It will be his first public appearance since September, when he and Rosalynn Carter rode together in the Plains Peanut Festival parade, visible only through open windows in a Secret Service vehicle. Jimmy Carter, who was with his wife during her final hours, did not appear publicly during any part of a public motorcade through and wreath-laying ceremony Monday at Rosalynn Carter’s alma mater, Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus.

The Carters married in 1946, their 77-plus years together making them the longest-married presidential couple in U.S. history.

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