The new holiday is based on one of Rogers’ special codes that let the audience know he cared about them. On Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he used to say, “1-4-3,” which stood for the numbers of letters in the words “I love you.”
Because he is so beloved around the world, but especially in his native Pennsylvania, the state’s governor decided to declare May 23 an annual holiday in the state. Why May 23? Because it is the 143rd day of the year. Here’s the tweet from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf that made it official.
The “Statewide Day of Kindness” encourages people to perform simple acts of kindness – things like putting change into a random parking meter, giving up your seat to a stranger, or donating your time at a homeless shelter. The 143day website even has a “Kindness Generator” that will give people great ideas of random kindness.
Here’s Mr. Rogers explaining the 1-4-3 code on an episode of his iconic show.
These signs were also put up in downtown Pittsburgh to encourage people to spread the love, Rogers-style.
Although this holiday was declared in the state of Pennsylvania, there’s no reason why all of us shouldn’t follow this example wherever we live and why 143 Day can’t be every day, everywhere.
Mr. Rogers may be gone but his spirit and legacy will live on forever.