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Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter celebrate their 74th wedding anniversary

Credit: AJC

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter mark their 74th wedding anniversary.

Credit: AJC

The couple was married on this day in 1946

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter are celebrating their 74th wedding anniversary. The couple was married on this day in 1946 in Plains, Georgia, when he was 21 and she was 18.

Throughout their marriage, the Carters have journeyed from Plains to Georgia’s Governor’s Mansion to the White House.

» A timeline: 10 of Jimmy Carter's major accomplishments

President Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter on their July 7, 1956, wedding day in Plains, Georiga. “I fell in love with a photograph of him,” Rosalynn said. “My mother said it must have been his white uniform.” Contributed by Harper One/Harper Collins
President Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter on their July 7, 1956, wedding day in Plains, Georiga. “I fell in love with a photograph of him,” Rosalynn said. “My mother said it must have been his white uniform.” Contributed by Harper One/Harper Collins

The former president is now 95 years old and the oldest-living president in U.S. history. In March 2019, Carter passed the record previously held by former president George H.W. Bush who was 94 years, 171 days old when he died in 2018.

The Carters also have the longest marriage of any presidential couple. Their longstanding romance started at a young age. When growing up in Plains, Rosalynn was a frequent playmate of Jimmy's younger sister.

» 'Always on my bucket list:' Going to Plains, Sunday school with Jimmy Carter

Then Georgia State Sen. Jimmy Carter hugs his wife, Rosalynn, at his Atlanta campaign headquarters in 1966 after making a strong showing in the Democratic primary election for governor of Georgia.
Then Georgia State Sen. Jimmy Carter hugs his wife, Rosalynn, at his Atlanta campaign headquarters in 1966 after making a strong showing in the Democratic primary election for governor of Georgia.

Credit: Associated Press

Credit: Associated Press

In 1945, Jimmy asked Rosalynn to go to the movies with him while he was home on leave from the U.S. Naval Academy. When his mother asked him what he thought of Rosalynn the next day, he is said to have responded, "she's the one I'm going to marry."

In his 2015 book, “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety,” Carter wrote of his first date with his future wife, “She was remarkably beautiful, almost painfully shy, obviously intelligent, and yet unrestrained in our discussion on the rumble seat of the Ford Coupe.”

President Jimmy Carter, First Lady Rosalynn Carter and daughter Amy, July 1977 on the White House lawn. (Jimmy Carter Library)
President Jimmy Carter, First Lady Rosalynn Carter and daughter Amy, July 1977 on the White House lawn. (Jimmy Carter Library)

Credit: Jimmy Carter Library

Credit: Jimmy Carter Library

It’s been nearly 40 years since Carter lost his re-election campaign to Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential contest. However, both he and Rosalynn have been extremely busy in the years since leaving the political arena.

The couple founded the Carter Center in 1982, with a mission to advance peace and improve health worldwide. They frequently volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and have worked for voting rights across the world.

In 1999, then-President Bill Clinton awarded Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter have done more good things for more people in more places than any other couple on the face of the Earth,” Clinton said at the time.

» Jimmy Carter: Man of the people

President Bill Clinton applauds Carter and his wife Rosalynn before presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the Carter Center on Aug. 9, 1999. (Ben Gray / AJC file)
President Bill Clinton applauds Carter and his wife Rosalynn before presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the Carter Center on Aug. 9, 1999. (Ben Gray / AJC file)

On Carter's 75th birthday he was asked about the most important thing he had done with his life, without hesitation he said, "Marrying Rosalynn," according to the Carter Center.