PITTSBURGH — It was a beautiful day to honor Mister Rogers with a postage stamp.
The U.S. Postal Service on Friday released a stamp featuring Fred Rogers, the gentle TV host who entertained and educated generations of preschoolers on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
The stamp pictures Rogers in his trademark cardigan along with King Friday, a puppet character from the show’s Neighborhood of Make-Believe sketch.
A dedication ceremony was held at the Pittsburgh studio where Rogers filmed his beloved PBS show, which aired between 1968 and 2001. Rogers died in 2003 at age 74.
Among those attending were Rogers’ widow, Joanne, and David Newell, who played Mr. McFeely, the deliveryman on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
Joanne Rogers said that when she first saw the stamp, it was “love at first sight.”
“I thought it was so beautiful. I think it is so festive,” she said.
Postmaster General Megan Brennan said at the unveiling that Mister Rogers “made the ups and downs of life easier to understand for the youngest members of our society.”
“He shaped generations with his kindness and compassion,” she said.
Noting the stamp has the words “Forever USA,” Brennan said “these words of the Postal Service are our way of saying Mr. Rogers represents the best of America and will do so always.”
Paul Siefken, president and CEO of the Fred Rogers Company, said he couldn’t think of “a better tribute to Fred and his legacy.”
He noted that Rogers loved sending letters, especially to young children who wrote to him about his show.
“Fred Rogers left an indelible mark on generations of young audiences through his groundbreaking series, and his timeless wisdom and important messages of inclusion and neighborliness remain just as relevant today as they were 50 years ago,” Siefken said.
Earlier this month, WTTW-Channel 11 aired “Mister Rogers: It’s You I Like,” a celebrity-filled, hour-long special hosted by Michael Keaton, which celebrated Rogers’ legacy. HIs beloved children’s program aired for more than 40 years on the Chicago PBS station.
KEITH SRAKOCIC, Associated Press; Contributing: Sun-Times staff reporter Miriam Di Nunzio