Rosalynn Carter, the former first lady of the United States (from 1977 to 1981), passed away back on November 19th shortly after being entered into hospice care. She was 96-years-old.
Her husband, former President Jimmy Carter, was entered into hospice care back in February, and is still alive at 99-years of age. Carter made a rare public appearance when he attended his late wife’s funeral service at the Glenn Memorial Church at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were married for 77 years, which is the longest of any first couple in the history of the country. Though Carter only served one term that ran from the late 70’s to the early 80’s, he and his wife were known for the great humanitarian work they did long after his time in office.
In fact, Rosalynn Carter could be considered one of the first advocates for mental health. The former first lady took pride in fighting the stigmas surrounding mental health, and helped bring to life the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980.Trying to encompass all of her achievements, accomplishments, and impact into one funeral service is a challenging feat, and the Carter family and their friends tried to do just that earlier today in Georgia.
Many current and former politicians were in attendance, including all living former first ladies, as well as Bill Clinton, current President Joe Biden, but the couple that has really turned heads being there is Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.
Though it might seem strange that the two country stars would be there to pay their respects, it makes more sense when you know that Brooks and Yearwood were close acquaintances with the Carters.
Here is a picture of the four of them working together on a home building project for Habitat for Humanity:
Garth Brooks and Tricia Yearwood sang at Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter’s service.
The couple worked with the Carters on several Habitat For Humanity homes!
Considering that they were so close, it should then come as no surprise that Brooks and Yearwood performed a song in honor of Rosalynn Carter during the funeral service. However, the song choice of John Lennon’s “Imagine” has puzzled some online, considering the opening line of the song is “imagine there’s no heaven,” and that’s not exactly comforting to hear at funeral.
The song is powerful, and probably one of the most recognizable songs in the world, but for a funeral? It just seems weird… even Lennon himself said the song essentially reflected the ideology (not so much the practice) of the Communist movement at the time, even though he wasn’t a communist. Jimmy Carter is often considered the first post-Cold War president, with the Cold War being viewed from an American perspective as anti-communist (the U.S. actively tried to stop the spread of the Communist Party).
Like any piece of art, the song is up for interpretation, though many have argued that “Imagine” has often been misused and misunderstood in moments of remembrance, and even at funerals. However, this quote from Jimmy Carter about the song might reveal why it was chosen for this moment, and could even lead one to assume that it might’ve been requested by the Carter family:
“In many countries around the world — my wife and I have visited about 125 countries — you hear John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ used almost equally with national anthems.”
Regardless of the song’s meaning, or why it was chosen, the performance by Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood was a touching moment in the proceedings in honor of the former first lady.
You can view the video below:
WATCH: Country music stars Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks perform a cover of John Lennon's "Imagine."