The words of the late "Mister Rogers," aka Fred Rogers, one of America's most beloved television hosts, are helping people grapple with the horror of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
His famous "Look for the helpers" quote has become a sort of a viral comfort to grieving adults and children being inundated with countless media reports detailing how 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 school children and seven adults.
The quote has more than 90,000 shares and 50,000 “Likes” on Facebook after being posted on Dec. 14 by the 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting Facebook page
Accompanied by a photo of Rogers with a young boy, the quote says: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
The quote is from a video in which Rogers advises parents how to help their children deal with tragedy. In the video, he gives a few pointers, like emphasizing the importance of telling children they can express concerns and thoughts any time.
NBC's David Gregory even included Rogers’ message on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”
“May God give you strength and at least you can know there is a country full of helpers here to catch you when you feel like falling,” Gregory said.
Rogers wasn’t the only star to go viral in wake of the Connecticut shooting. Morgan Freeman
went viral as well, but in the Oscar-winning actor's case, his quote about the sensationalist media coverage of the shooting turned out to be a hoax.
Rogers, who died in 2003 from stomach cancer, was known for his gentle, soft-spokenness and calm demeanor. His PBS show, “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood,” was on the air for more than 33 years and made him an icon among generations of children.
The photo that accompanies the "Look for the helpers" quote was taken by Jim Judkis in 1978 in The Children’s Institute in Pittsburgh during a shoot for People magazine, according to PBS.
“I think it went viral because … it focuses on the positive. It’s a way of leading you out of the bad towards the good,” Judkis told the Washington Post. “Those were very brilliant words that he said, and the picture of Fred personifies the words.”
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