The Letter of the Week from John P. Jones, “Read about a life well-lived,” was selected by the Times-News editorial board as the best letter of those that appeared during the week of May 3-9. It was published May 9.

Note: Selection of the letter of the week is based on writing competence and the ability of the writer to get his or her point across. It is not based on whether the editorial board agrees with the writer.

Jones and our other Letter of the Week writers receive canvas tote bags embossed with the Letter of the Week logo. Here is an edited-for-length version of his letter.


Like many of us confined to our homes in recent weeks, I have been reading more books than normal.

Among the books that have impressed me most are several written by our former President, Jimmy Carter. I decided to write a “thank you” letter to him.


Dear President Carter,

I have been fortunate to have read many of your books. Most recently, with the COVID-19 virus confinement, I have enjoyed reading “The Virtues of Aging,” “Faith: A Journey for All,” “Sources of Strength — Meditations on Scripture for a Living Faith,” and “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety.”

I marvel at the abundant life you have led for the past 95 years beginning with your hard earned down-to-earth boyhood lessons learned on your parent’s Georgia farm.

Your early years as a midshipman at the Naval Academy and service as submarine officer, certainly opened a completely new world beyond the simple life of rural Plains, Georgia.

Returning to manage the family farm no doubt provided valuable first hand experience toward your gradual move into Georgia state government positions and ultimately the White House.

I am even more impressed with the variety of ways you have continued to serve mankind during your post-presidency years. Along the way you were the victim of vicious media attacks from all sides.

I especially admire your long-standing insistence on racial equality, which was far ahead of the times in the strongly racially biased south. It took courageous conviction to be among only a handful of your church members who voted openly to accept blacks into church membership in the mid 1960s.

Hopefully, your legacy of a “life well-lived” will continue to be a positive influence on all of us long after you go on to your reward in heaven.

The current White House occupant has much to deal with, but I believe that he (along with all of us) would benefit greatly from exposure to your writings and from adopting a few of your virtues, starting with honesty and humility.

Finally, thank you  for sharing within the books you have left behind so many worthwhile historical and spiritual insights. Praying for continued good health for you and the former first lady.  

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