Carter gets surprise sendoff - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Carter gets surprise sendoff

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December 6, 2002

PLAINS - An unwitting Jimmy Carter walks into the Carter museum still in work clothes, the museum decorated with more than 20 thousand cards from Georgia students congratulating him on winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

"As you head down the hall you'll see a few more cards," Annette Wise explains. "This is incredible," President Carter responsed.

Keeping an event like this a secret from a former President was no easy task, especially when it was in his own hometown.

Carter thought he was there to check out plans for an upcoming exhibit featuring his wife Rosalyn, but she was in on the surprise all along.

"She kept asking me questions aren't you going to shave, and put on some clean pants," President Carter said.

No matter to the 300 students who got a chance to express gratitude to their superhero for his lifetime commitment to promoting peace and humanity.

"Thank you Jimmy Carter for building my house, congratulations for winning the Nobel Peace Prize," one card read.

"I'm glad you made peace, we need a lot more people like you," said another.

The kind thoughts and surprise ceremony bringing a tear to President Carter's eye, something he says didn't even happen the morning of his last big surprise, when he learned he had won.

"First time I had to borrow a Kleenex," President Carter said.

The 78-year-old telling the students he'll never forget the amazing moment, looking like a kid on Christmas himself, as you just couldn't wipe the smile of his face.

Dr. Martin Luther King Junior is the only other Georgian to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. President Carter will accept his Nobel Peace Prize Tuesday in Oslo, Norway.

This morning, he told the students he's just finished his acceptance speech which will be 16 minutes long. He'll salute at least two Americans, Martin Luther King who he says paved the way for his path to the Presidency, and his seventh grade teacher, who told him to cling to his unchanging principals.

"Here we have a chance at education and health care, self respect," President Carter said.

His speech will stress the importance of peace and human rights. President Carter says he knows the eyes of the world will be on him, but he's making no indication of whether he'll again criticize U.S. involvement in Iraq and the Middle East.