Butterfly Day in Plains Celebrates Rosalynn Carter’s 96th Birthday

Published 10:29 am Monday, August 21, 2023

Butterfly day took place in Plains Georgia on August 19th at the Rosalynn Smith Carter childhood garden and was well attended by a variety of ages. Mrs. Carter’s sister, Lillian Allethea Smith Wall, was one of the attendees. Andrew Greer, a committee member for butterfly day, talked about his participation.
“This is the second annual one and this is my second annual time to participate.”
“I live in Nashville Tennessee, but I have a little home here in Plains Georgia because I fell in love with the people here.”
He talked about co-writing a song with grammy nominee Cindy Morgan last year for Rosalynn Carter’s ninety-fifth birthday.
“That was the inauguration, if you will, of butterfly days. [It] was to celebrate Rosalynn’s birthday, to have a weekend dedicated to all that Rosalynn embodies, everything from her achievements with mental health, as far as awareness of mental health, to caregiving.”
He summered what he admired about the former first lady.
“She has a strong tenderness.”
He talked about his feelings regarding the ceremony.
“I think it’s a beautiful way to celebrate her life.”
The creator of the sculptor in the butterfly garden, Peter Hazel, briefly addressed the attendees.
“This is more than just an art piece. I actually have art installations across the U.S. Normally, I get commissioned, I’ll build it, install it, I might get on the news, and then I’ll go home. But with this, I really connected with everybody in Plains, and I feel like it’s a second home, and it’s an honor to be back here again with all my new friends.”
Afterwards, Peter Hazel explained some of the significance of the design, stating that the eight limbs and eighteen butterflies stood for Rosalynn Carter’s birthday, August 18th. He talked about how he had received the commission.
“I got lucky on this commission. Jack Bacon, a guy from Reno, says I know Jimmy Carter. I didn’t believe him.”
He expressed his excitement at the opportunity.
“This is really happening? I get to do an art piece for Jimmy Carter? My favorite humanitarian ever?”
Another attendee, Laura McConatha, was a retiree who had worked at the Rosalynn Carter institute.
“It’s a powerful thing to see Rosalynn’s legacy continue in such beautiful ways. I worked at the Rosalynn Carter institute for twenty years, and that was my career, I retired five years ago.”
She described the lasting influence the Carters had left on her.
“I feel the impact of she and president Carter’s commitment to making the world a better place. I think they are such positive role models for living with purpose and compassion.”
She described their commitment.
“Every single time I saw the two of them together, they were holding hands. In that entire twenty years that I worked there, they always were holding hands.”
Tim Buchanan, an organizer, told how many butterflies were released.
“About two hundred and fifty. They were painted ladies. We can’t get monarchs this time of year. They come to us packed in dry ice, so they’re a little sluggish. This year’s much better. Last year was rainy and foggy, so they were slow to leave.”
Mr. Buchanan mentioned that the garden also functioned as an outdoor classroom.
“We had five hundred fourth graders this year come through, during our second year of operation.”
Savannah Doele, an eleventh grader at the Furlow Charter school, presented a picture honoring Mrs. Carter.