The children’s show’s LOVED personality, Fred Rogers, is commemorated each year on May 23rd, also known as 143 Day.
Rogers’ show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, aired in 1968 and influenced generations of young viewers.
What is the 143rd day?
The holiday, the 143rd day, was first celebrated in Fred Roger’s home state of Pennsylvania in 2019 to honor the late television personality.
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was on the air for 33 years, and during that time Rogers coined the phrase 143 Day, with each number indicating how many letters are in each word of I love you.
The date fell on the 143rd day of the year, which is when Rogers told his viewers to show their love for each other and help out in small and positive ways.
Studies have shown that people are more apt to participate in awareness-raising activities when a day is dedicated to them, Time Magazine reported.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf released a statement on May 23, 2022 recognizing the good deeds Rogers has brought to their state and said the community should strive for that level of caring.
Wolf said, “Over the past three years, Pennsylvanians have shown that kindness is part of their core. We carried on the legacy of Fred Rogers through simple good deeds and kind words to our neighbors, friends, family and teachers—responders and strangers alike.”
In one episode, Rogers once said, “Imagine what our real neighborhood would be like if each of us offered … just a kind word to another person.”
Who Was Fred Rogers?
Known for his empathetic, kind and caring manner, Rogers began each Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood show with his trademark entry of his home and swapping one sweater for another.
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He sang “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” as he kicked off his shoes and greeted his young viewers.
Influencing generations of children from the 1960s through the 1990s, Rogers filmed his final episode in December 2000.
His biographer Maxwell King told Time that Rogers would wake up at 5 a.m. every day before preparing for his show to figure out what he could do for others that day.
“He would read the Bible, pray for other people, and then think about the day ahead,” King said.
“He would spend that time imagining who he would see and how he would be fully committed and thoughtful and considerate and kind with everyone he came across.”
The show went off air in 2001 and Rogers died two years later on February 27, just a month before his 75th birthday.
Why did the 143rd day become a national holiday in Pennsylvania?
In memory of Fred Rogers’ legacy, Wolf declared May 23, 2019 as the 143rd day in Pennsylvania.
He shared the proclamation in a post on Twitter earlier this year, saying, “I declared 1-4-3 day today, Pennsylvania’s first statewide Day of Kindness.”
He added, “As governor, I’ve met countless Pennsylvania people. And I know we’re really nice people. Spread love with me today and see how far a little kindness can go.”
Wolf’s contribution contained a Clip by Rogers He explained to his delivery man, Mr. McFeely, in one episode that it was a “code.”
“Explaining things is another way of saying ‘I love you.’ And visiting every day is another option,” Rogers said after escorting Mr. McFeely to the door.
“Oh, there are so many possibilities. …you will find them as you grow. Lots of ways to say 1-4-3.”
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