Close to two weeks have passed since the death of the beloved former US First Lady, Rosalynn Carter, at the age of 96.
The iconic figure, known for her women’s rights and mental health advocacy, passed away surrounded by family, two days after entering home hospice care.
Her final resting place was prepared ten days after her November 19 passing, following her dementia diagnosis in May. United with her devoted husband of 77 years, former US President Jimmy Carter, 99, she dedicated almost eight decades to serving the nation.
Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter’s life in office
Jimmy and Rosalynn’s love story is one that will go down in history, and their journey began over 90 years ago. In fact, Jimmy was still able to recall the day his wife was born. He was only three years old and his family lived next door to Rosalynn’s.
Since Jimmy’s mother was a nurse, she helped deliver Rosalynn on August 18, 1927. One day after Rosalynn was born, Jimmy’s mother brought him to see the newborn baby. At the time, little did anyone know that the two would get married.
Astonishingly, the Carters exchanged their vows all the way back in 1946, just one year after the culmination of the Second World War.
Jimmy remained in the military until 1953, only resigning after the passing of his father, James Early Carter Sr. The future President Carter took over his family’s farm in Plains, Georgia, but later set his sights on a career in politics.
He first won a bid for a seat in the Georgia Senate in 1962, marking the start of a political career that would ultimately see him become President of the United States in 1976.
“We developed a partnership when we were working in the farm supply business, and it continued when Jimmy got involved in politics,” Rosalynn is quoted as having said.
Over the course of President Carter’s time in the White House, Rosalynn was an active advocate of mental health. She served as the honorary chair of the President’s Commission on Mental Health, a body that helped to pass the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980.
The 39th president has previously credited his long life to his wife. “It’s hard to live until you’re 95 years old,” he told People. “I think the best explanation for that is to marry the best spouse: someone who will take care of you and engage and do things to challenge you and keep you alive and interested in life.”
Rosalynn Carter’s passing
Following Rosalynn’s death Jimmy issued a moving statement.
“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” Jimmy said in a statement. “She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”
Rosalynn is survived “by her children — Jack, Chip, Jeff, and Amy — and 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. A grandson died in 2015.”
The Carter’s son Chip also issued a statement thanking his mother for the tireless work she put in to give Americans better access to mental health care.
“Her life of service and compassion was an example for all Americans. She will be sorely missed not only by our family but by the many people who have better mental health care and access to resources for caregiving today.”
Parallel to his late wife’s health journey, Jimmy had earlier entered home hospice care, remaining in hospice after Rosalynn. The aftermath of her death witnessed a series of public and private gatherings to honor and mourn her.
Melania Trump’s funeral outfit choice
On Tuesday (November 28) an exclusive tribute service was held at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, commemorating Rosalynn’s legacy. The ceremony saw the attendance of both current and former U.S. First Ladies, including Dr. Jill Biden, Michelle Obama, Melania Trump, Laura Bush, and Hillary Clinton.
Notable political figures like former US President Bill Clinton, Vice President Kamala Harris, and President Joe Biden also paid their respects. Rosalynn’s loved ones and closest friends participated in the ceremony, including a duet of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine.’
Despite the somber occasion, attention turned to Melania Trump’s choice of attire, which caused a stir and sparked criticism online. All political figures wore black out of respect to the late First Lady, a color generally worn at funerals and solemn events. Michelle Obama sported for a black turtleneck, blazer, and pants, while Laura Bush wore a black dress with 3/4 sleeves. Hillary Clinton chose an oversized black button-down sweater coat paired with black pants.
However, Melania Trump deviated from the all-black protocol, drawing attention with a gray tweed coat cinched at the waist with a belt. The mid-calf length of the coat left her bare legs exposed and she wore black leather gloves.
The public reaction to Melania’s outfit was fast, with many people expressing disapproval and deeming it inappropriate for the solemn occasion.
Criticism mainly came from the fact that Melania was not wearing black like the other attendees, with comments like: “Melania can’t wear black?? How disrespectful.” Some users questioned if she even owned a black coat, while others suggested that the other former First Ladies’ expressions in photos hinted at their possible disapproval.
Amidst the overwhelmingly negative responses, a few did choose to defend Melania, arguing that the criticism was unwarranted. “The day was about Mrs. Carter, not about what anyone was wearing. Good grief, can’t we even be decent about a funeral anymore?” someone wrote.
What do you think of the situation? Was Melania Trump’s choice of clothing inappropriate, or was criticism of her outfit unnecessary? Let us know in the comments.
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