February 27, 2003 - Thursday
I drove the boys to a nearby Radio Shack this afternoon to pick up a couple of adapters and on the way listened to NPR's Talk of the Nation and one of the undoubtedly hundreds of remembrances of Mr. (Fred) Rogers, who died early this morning. At the end of a show full of interviews, call ins, and recollections, they played Mr. Rogers singing "The Clown in Me." Immediately, Jeremy, who usually responds well to music, started laughing and hooting more than I can remember him ever doing for another song. Fred Rogers was certainly no great voice, but to his audience he was a fabulous singer, Jeremy being only the latest to sound his approval.
I read an article today that ended with an anecdote about Mr. Rogers visiting the White House for some unnamed event. No year was given and no reference to any specific president, and it really doesn't matter. I think the story would be right regardless of the specific president. It described how the First Lady walked in and received a nice round of applauds, then how the President arrived and was greeted with a similarly enthusiastic round of applauds. Then, Mr. Rogers came in and spontaneously everyone rose and gave him a standing ovation.
I always respected Mr. Rogers, but now that I have kids and have been working to try to teach them well, I see him as a true hero of the 20th century.