President Jimmy Carter: Don’t ever give up on our country
PLAINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)- President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, addressed an auditorium full of interested listeners for President’s Day at the old Plains High School in his hometown.
The Carters talked about their life on the campaign trail and their marriage. President Carter said one of the biggest challenges he faced was overcoming the stereotype that he was racist, simply because he was the governor of a Southern state. Mrs. Carter explained that she struggled with getting people to take her seriously, as she worked to secure media interviews for her husband. Mrs. Carter also explained that she was nervous about the campaign for re-election.
The story inspired 11 year-old Chandler Harris, who has been researching Jimmy Carter for a class project. “I think President’s Day is an important day to honor our presidents, especially the important ones that helped us get where we are today,” said Harris. The celebration brought generations of all ages together.
“It’s so important for us to honor our presidents, and we have a President of the United States living right here in Plains, Georgia…what an honor,” says Sandra Smith with the Andersonville Trail Association.
Smith added she wants people to “stand up for America” and do what it takes to “keep America free.”
President Carter reminisced on several moments during the 1979 trail, including running against President Gerald Ford. He expressed the differences between campaigning then versus now.
Mary Garcia, a Columbus State University graduate student who studies political science and history, was surprised at some of Carter’s stories. “The biggest thing I learned is the difference between campaigning back in ’76 versus now with all the big money involved,” Garcia says,”That was actually something that… I didn’t think about and haven’t thought about with the current election coming up.”
For nine years, Kendall and Connie Blanchard have attended the celebration. Kendall says Carter’s speech gives him hope. “[To] hear him say that this could be again, we’ve got to believe in this country…all of that is a very important message.”
An idea President Carter says begins with citizens taking responsibility, and Presidents carrying it out everyday.
The Carters will celebrate 70 years of marriage in July. Mrs. Carter told the crowd that they grew closer during the campaigns because they had one goal: getting elected.
President Carter also encouraged those who attended to get involved in politics. “Don’t ever give up on our country. We have a great country. Eventually, the people will prevail. And even though we might be discouraged or aggravated at some of the things that are go on during the campaign, I believe that in the future, our people will make the right decision,” Carter explained.
Final words of advice to audience: Get involved in politics. pic.twitter.com/4SDvTrVTLn
— Taylor Terrell (@_taylorterrell) February 15, 2016
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