Thursday, March 19, 2009
If so, please won't you wear it tomorrow?
(Addendum to original post: If you send me a photo of you wearing a sweater, I'll post it next week and give you a link to your site!)
If you've been coming here for any significant length of time, you know how I feel concerning the late Fred Rogers. In my estimation, he was an actual saint walking among us here on Earth.
If you are somehow unaware of who he was, this piece I wrote gives a decent history of the man. For a really nice story about the effect Fred Rogers could have on people, see this additional piece.
(The offer I made in the former piece, concerning the book, still stands.)
Here's the deal concerning the sweater: Friday, March 20th, is the anniversary of the birth of Fred Rogers. If he were still alive, he would have been 81. As a token of the deep respect and appreciation some folks have for his lifework, we will wear sweaters tomorrow, much as he always donned one upon the start of each episode of his TV show.
I think it's a wonderful way to let people know that his memory lives on, and that his values are still cherished and worthwhile aspiring towards.
From the Family Communications (Rogers' non-profit production company) website:
(Pittsburgh) February 27, 2009– Since 1968, when Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood made its national public television debut, Fred Rogers began each episode with his simple signature question in song: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
Last year, the nation joined together to answer that question with a resounding “Yes!” as news anchors, librarians, students and CEO’s alike donned their favorite sweaters in honor of what would have been Rogers’ 80th birthday on March 20, 2008.
This year, the group that started it all is turning “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Day into an annual tradition by asking the world to once again wear a sweater on March 20 in honor of America’s favorite neighbor.
“It started simply enough,” explains Margy Whitmer of Family Communications, Inc. (FCI is the nonprofit company founded in 1971 by Fred Rogers.) “We wanted to recognize Fred in a way that would reflect his deep appreciation of what it means to be a caring neighbor.”
So, “’Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Day – WYBMND for short, although not by much – was born as a means of promoting neighborliness throughout the region.
“We’re asking everyone everywhere – from Pittsburgh (where Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was filmed for 40 years) to Paris -- to wear their favorite sweater on March 20,” says David Newell, FCI’s public relations director and Mr. McFeely. “It doesn’t have to have a zipper down the front like the one Mister Rogers wore on the program; it just has to be special to you.”
“What’s been so encouraging,” Whitmer says, “is the continued enthusiastic response from people all over the country. We’ve marked this date to give
organizations and institutions the opportunity to create an event that encourages the people in their communities to be caring neighbors. We're also hoping that individuals will connect one-on-one with their neighbors in caring ways and that it will become an annual national day of community service.”
For more information about “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Day, please visit: www.fci.org/neighbor.
As Fred said, so beautifully and so often, "There is only one person in the entire world exactly like you, and each person can like you exactly the way you are."
I like you exactly the way you are, and I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, should you choose to participate in this wonderful celebration of Mister Rogers and his good works.
Soon, with more better stuff.