PLAINS, Ga. — Rosalynn Carter, the second-oldest U.S. first lady ever, turns 96 today!
The Carter Center posted on social media Thursday, stating that its beloved co-founder would spend the day at home with former President Jimmy Carter and more members of their family. The organization also said she would have a butterfly release.
Rosalynn has loved butterflies dating back to childhood when she was entranced by the colorful insects flitting around her mother's flowers in Plains, Georgia, a longtime friend and neighbor Annette Wise said.
That interest led to the formation of the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, which was established in the southwest Georgia town after the former first lady grew concerned about the future of butterflies, which are crucial to the pollination of flowering plants.
Rosalynn served as the state's first lady after her husband was elected governor of Georgia in 1970. She undertook a comprehensive tour of mental health facilities throughout the state and sat on the Governor's Commission to Improve Services to the Mentally and Emotionally Handicapped.
In 1976, at the age of 49, she made her national debut as her spouse campaigned for president. She played a vital role in the campaign, touring the country independently to advocate for her husband's leadership capabilities and why he was the ideal choice to lead the nation.
Following Jimmy's presidential election, Rosalynn revolutionized the duties of the First Lady by actively pursuing her own independent agenda. She participated in Cabinet meetings, attended significant briefings, and acted as the "President's personal emissary to Latin American countries." Additionally, she became the first First Lady to maintain her office in the East Wing and was the first to have a VCR installed in the White House.
Rosalynn was 18 when she married Jimmy when he was 21 on July 7, 1946, in Plains. The Carters are the longest-married presidential couple!
Happy Birthday, Rosalynn!