FAVORITE children’s show character Fred Rogers is remembered each year on May 23rd, also known as Day 143.
Rogers’ show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, went on the air in 1968 and impressed generations of young viewers.
What is day 143?
The holiday, Day 143, was first celebrated in Fred Rogers’ home state of Pennsylvania in 2019 in honor of the late television personality.
“Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” aired for 33 years, during which time Rogers coined the expression “143 days”, where each number represents how many letters are in each word “I love you”.
The date occurred on the 143rd day of the year when Rogers told his viewers to show their love for each other and help in small and positive ways.
Studies have shown that people are more likely to participate in awareness-raising activities if one day is dedicated to them. Time magazine reported.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf released a statement on May 23, 2022 acknowledging the good deeds Rogers brought to their state and said the community should strive for this level of care.
Wolf said, “Over the past three years, the people of Pennsylvania have demonstrated that kindness is part of who they are, we continue to carry out the legacy of Fred Rogers through simple acts of kindness and kind words to our neighbors, friends, family, teachers, most of all responders and strangers.”
In one episode, Rogers once said, “Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered … just one kind word to another person.”
Who was Fred Rogers?
Rogers was known for his empathetic, kind, and caring nature, as he began every Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood show with his signature song, entering his house and changing from one sweater to another.
He sang “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” as he changed clothes and greeted his young viewers.
Rogers influenced generations of children from the 1960s to the 1990s and filmed his last episode in December 2000.
His biographer Maxwell King told Time that Rogers would wake up at 5 a.m. every day before getting ready for his show to hone in on what he could do for others that day.
“He read the Bible, prayed for other people, and then thought about the day ahead,” King said.
“He spent that time imagining who he was going to see and how he would be fully engaged, thoughtful, considerate and kind to whoever he met.”
The show ended in 2001, and Rogers passed away two years later on February 27, just a month short of his 75th birthday.
Why did 143 become a national holiday in Pennsylvania?
In memory of the legacy of Fred Rogers, Wolf declared May 23 the 143rd day in Pennsylvania in 2019.
That same year, he shared the statement on his Twitter post and said, “I declared today 1-4-3 Day, the first day of kindness in the state of Pennsylvania.”
He added: “As governor, I have met countless Pennsylvanians. And I know that we are really good people. Join me in spreading love today and see how far a little kindness can go.”
Wolf’s post contained clip of rogers explaining 143 Day to his courier, Mr. McFeely, in one episode, saying it was a “code”.
“Explaining things is another way to say ‘I love you.’ And coming back to visit every day is another way,” said Rogers, walking Mr. McFeely to the door.
“Oh, there are so many ways… You will find them when you grow up. Many ways to say 1-4-3.”
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