ATLANTA (CBS46) – President Jimmy Carter reached a historic milestone this year becoming the oldest living former president in history. Tuesday, President Carter celebrates another historic moment, his 95th birthday!
Born October 1, 1924, Carter turned 95 years young Tuesday and while the Goergia-native’s time as Commander-in-Chief was just four years; his time and tireless efforts for humanity after his presidency may set a record and legacy that can never be topped.
Going back to 1976, Carter freed the nation from the moral swamp of President Richard Nixon’s Watergate by beating the man who pardoned Nixon, President Gerald Ford. Between international crises, energy problems, and inflation, Carter lost his bid for re-election to Ronald Reagan in 1970.
That sent Carter back home to Georgia he began the next chapter of his life which has lasted nearly four decades.
"When we came home, I had no idea what I would do with the rest of my life. I was fifty-six years old, one of the younger survivors of the White House," Carter wrote in a memoir in 2015, "A Full Life: Reflections at 90.”
Within months of leaving the presidency, he planned and began fund raising to build the Carter Presidential Center. He used its partnership with Emory University to soothe global tensions, shake a finger at trouble makers, and force corrupt politicians worldwide who would steal elections to face the gaze of election observers and international publicity.
He watched wife Rosalyn bring mental health into greater prominence in medicine and insurance. The couple swung hammers together to build “Habitat for Humanity” houses around the world. And he wrote books, made furniture, painted art work, and counselled presidents.
"My life since the White House has been personally more gratifying, although the presidency was obviously the pinnacle of political success. If I had to choose between four more years and the Carter Center, I think I would choose the Carter Center," Carter said in 2015. And then he admitted "it could have been both."
He is candid as he recalls the prestige of the White House, the contacts enabling his Carter Presidential Center to send medicine and doctors around the world. Millions of people are healthier because diseases the Carter Center fought are going or gone for good.
"We deal with individual people in the smallest and most obscure and suffering villages in the desert and in the jungles of Africa, and we've had programs in 80 different countries on the Earth for the poorest and most destitute people in the world," he said. "And that has been, I'd say, far more gratifying personally because we actually interact with families and with people."
Honest, and wise. Those words may be the judgment of President Carter from many people sending birthday congratulations. In that way, the 39th president is linked to the second, John Adams, the first to live in the White House. On a cold November day, President Adams ended a letter to his wife Abigail with a thought that echoes through the presidencies.
"I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.”