The below YouTube video recently resurfaced on Twitter to remind me about everything I loved, and still love, about Mr. Rogers. It’s a clip from the 1997 Daytime Emmys, where Fred McFeely Rogers accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award:
In just three minutes, he reduced Linda Dano to tears and reminded us how conscientious we can strive to be when it comes to recognizing the important people in our lives and telling them how much they mean to us.
The clip brought me back to one of my all-time favorite stories: Tom Junod’s 1998 Esquire profile or Mr. Rogers:
Can You Say… Hero?
“Once upon a time, a man named Fred Rogers decided that he wanted to live in heaven. Heaven is the place where good people go when they die, but this man, Fred Rogers, didn’t want to go to heaven; he wanted to live in heaven, here, now, in this world, and so one day, when he was talking about all the people he had loved in this life, he looked at me and said, ‘The connections we make in the course of a life—maybe that’s what heaven is, Tom. We make so many connections here on earth. Look at us—I’ve just met you, but I’m investing in who you are and who you will be, and I can’t help it.’”
Read Junod’s 2003 eulogy for Mr. Rogers
…and it then sent me on a Mr. Rogers YouTube-watching binge. Here he is defending PBS before Congress in 1969: