When I was eight years old, I met President Carter as he was boarding a riverboat in Davenport, Ia. He stopped to shake my hand in a crowd of hundreds (or so it seemed). The next day, I learned about the rabbit incident and that really stuck with me. To me that exhibited that a man can be strong and compassionate concurrently. Following his speeches formed in me a belief system that I carry with me even through today. President Carter met with politicians, teachers, preachers, businessmen, and regular citizens, personally, to try and understand the state of our country and its people. He spoke about the strength and wisdom of the American people, not his constituents alone. He exhibited the wisdom and leadership around our country actively understanding the rest of the world and our place within it. I took from every speech and action that humans, with insight and understanding, can work themselves out of any problem if we just work together.

His actions, not his speeches are what have truly touched me as a human and proud patriot of the American ideal. He has shown me that idealism can be an actionable reality, not just some philosphers supposition. In the face of hate and animus, he has displayed grace and values. As an educator and physics researcher, I look to his wisdom, even as far back as his presidency, concerning our limited energy supply. I still work in the faith that the days of our children CAN BE better than our own and that is simply a choice we need to make as a society. No matter how one might reflect on his work as President, the deeds and messages, in fact the life President Carter has chosen to live models what the best of each of us could be, if we only chose it. Thank you President Carter for showing us how to be the best version of ourselves.

“Working together, with our common faith, we can not fail.”