At 96, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate remains the longest-living president in US history, surpassing George HW Bush, who died in 2018 at the age of 94.
Carter has been busy since his last birthday. He was hospitalized for much of the second half of 2019 to recover from brain surgeries, infections, and two falls. Health problems forced him to discontinue Sunday school classes at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, a tradition he began after he left office in 1981.
But in December he was back in the pews with his wife, Rosalynn. And before his brain surgery, he traveled to Nashville for the 36th Carter Work Project, a tradition where Carter builds houses with Habitat for Humanity. He said at the time that building houses was his number one priority.
The coronavirus pandemic forced him to cancel some of his planned projects at the Carter Center, his nonprofit, and Habitat for Humanity. Posing in masks, he and his wife urged supporters at the Carter Center to donate to the local Covid-19 response effort instead.
And that summer, as the police killed George Floyd and rekindled protests against racism and police brutality, Carter spoke out on behalf of those who protested peacefully.
“People with power, privilege and moral conscience must stand up and say ‘no more’ to a racially discriminatory police and justice system, immoral economic differences between whites and blacks and government measures that undermine our unified democracy. We are responsible for creating a world of Peace and equality for us and future generations, “he said.
He has certainly seen a lot in his 96 years: he served in the highest office in the country, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and several Grammy Awards for his audio books, and despite health problems, continued to build houses and promote peace abroad.
But he and Rosalynn plan to spend his birthday quietly at home in the Plains, a spokesman for the former constitutional president told the Atlanta Journal.
To celebrate the president’s 39th birthday, fans can send him a virtual birthday message through the Carter Center, Carter’s nonprofit advocating human rights worldwide.