For most people, some of the saddest days in their life occur when they lose a loved one, friend or pet. One of the saddest days in my life was February 27, 2003. That day the world lost one of its’ greatest citizens…Mr. Fred Rogers.
I was watching a documentary recently on Mr. Rogers lifetime services for the Public Broadcasting Service and I was reminded of one of the saddest days in my life. I can still remember the day like it was yesterday. My routine was the same as any other day. I came home from work, ate diner and signed on for some casual internet surfing. As soon as I logged on to my homepage showed a large picture of Mr. Rogers with 1928-2003 below it. I sat there in shock, staring at the screen blankly. My heart disappeared into the deepest depths of my stomach. It was as if I had lost my favorite Uncle. There were dozens of memorials and tributes on just about every single web page on the net. I read and watched every one of them through blurry eyes. One every website, in every blog and on every message board people had nothing but great things to say about Mr. Rogers as well as fond memories of mimicking his entrance or of wearing their grandfather’s cardigan sweater around the house. Even on your usual punk-related news sites known for smartass comments there were hundreds of posts about how much everyone truly loved Fred Rogers.
It was and is amazing as to the number of people that Mr. Rogers affected and that so many people would openly admit their love and admiration for a soft-spoken man that enjoyed playing with puppets. The next time that you see Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on TV…keep it on, put on your sneakers, slip on your cardigan and take a minute to reflect on those who made you who you are today. Including Mr. Rogers.