Jason Carter on Jimmy Carter’s strength of spirit

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Former President Jimmy Carter has been in hospice care for a year, and yet, the 39th President of the United States lives on. Thoughts on that from his grandson, Jason Carter: 


My grandfather was born in 1924. Had no running water, no electricity, and he grew up plowing fields behind a mule.

He lived to see both his life and this world transformed in so many ways. And through all of those changing times, he truly has clung to his unchanging principles: Faith; respect for human dignity; equality; human rights; and the commandment that above all else you should love your neighbor as yourself.

Nearly a decade ago, he had five melanoma tumors in his brain and liver, and we quoted the old gospel song that says he’s going to “stay on the battlefield.”

And he has.

For his whole life he has been on the battlefield for peace, for human rights, for democracy, for the alleviation of human suffering, putting his faith and love into action for others.

He has lived to see the Carter Center deploy an army of health workers, human rights workers, and democracy workers who are fighting disease, waging peace and building hope.

After 77 years of marriage, he was there for my grandmother until the end. He has seen and felt the outpouring of love from around the world. Last year, we collected nearly 20,000 birthday wishes from over 100 countries; and in tiny Plains, Georgia, that brought tears to his eyes.

He has seen that that same technology that knits the world together can also pull us apart. He has seen democracy threatened at home and abroad. And he lived to see one of the most important projects of his life – peace for Israel and Palestine – at the brink. Looking back, his efforts at Camp David remain one of the few foundations for hope in that long and intractable conflict. 

But he has stayed on the battlefield.

After a year in hospice, on a daily basis, we have no expectations for his body. But we know that his spirit is as strong as ever.

      
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Story produced by Lucie Kirk and Robert Marston. 

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