the year of LIVING UNOFFICIALLY

365 days of celebration

20
March

Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day

Posted by Brittany

Won't You Be My Neighbor DayToday is Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Day, a day to celebrate Fred Rogers and the values of love and neighborliness he strove to instill in young hearts during the course of his long career. On this day people everywhere are encouraged to don their favorite sweater and do what they can to promote neighborliness, wether it’s with a smile or a helping hand. Although Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, which produced an amazing 895 episodes from 1968 to 2001, was a children’s program, the lessons learned from the show are universal and should still be considered by the adults who grew up listening to Mr. Rogers as he sang us songs and helped us deal with our childhood fears and concerns.

I remember watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood as a kid. I particularly liked The Neighborhood of Make Believe with its enchanting characters like King Friday XIII. But in spite of my fond memories, I had no idea about the extent of the legacy left by this amazing man. Fred Rogers was an ordained minister, a song-writer, a vegetarian, husband, father, grandfather, producer, and activist. He was a man of strong convictions and was never afraid to speak out about his beliefs — he even went before the Senate to advocate funding for children’s programming rather than the war in Vietnam. He was awarded forty honorary degrees during his career, and his show won four Emmys, while he was honored with one for lifetime achievement. When the world lost him in 2003 many of us lost a part of our childhood.

To celebrate Mr. Rogers legacy and Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Day, we put on our favorite sweaters and traveled to Washington, D.C. with our favorite neighbors — my parents. (For those of you that have been following our blog and may have noticed how often we cross paths with the Lipinskis, one reason is that they only live about a quarter mile down the road from us.) The plan was to go back to the National Museum of American History, where we celebrated National Anthem Day earlier this month, to see Mr. Rogers’ red knit cardigan that was donated to the Smithsonian Institute. Unfortunately, once we arrived we discovered that the article was in storage. Still, we were in good company and used the opportunity to see the temporary Abraham Lincoln exhibit that we’d missed on our last visit. When we were finished at the American History Museum we went next door to the National Museum of Natural History to see a traveling exhibit entitled “Orchids: A View from the East”. The flowers were breathtaking and the little diversion was just in time for tomorrow’s “unofficial”, National Flower Day.

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