There is a new Mister Rogers statue in Florida, and there is an incredible irony that might be noticed if we take a deeper look into the person that this beautiful bronze sculpture memorializes.
Mr. Fred McFeely Rogers was a graduate of Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. British sculptor Paul Day is the artist who so brilliantly depicts Mister Rogers in the massive statue that now sits in the Chapel Garden Courtyard of Mister Rogers' alma mater.
Paul Day spent 11 months and more than 4,000 hours to complete the visual tribute to Mister Rogers, which weighs over 3,000 pounds and is more than 7 feet tall. Those are some impressive numbers! Paul Day had one mission in mind. "My hope is that this piece will bring joy and inspiration to many people, just as Mister Rogers' Neighborhood did for generations."
The statue includes incredible details. Mister Rogers is holding his puppet buddy Daniel Tiger. He wears his traditional sneakers and cardigan. Lyrics from the theme song for his long-running show are inscribed. And on the backside of the statue, the castle and characters from his pretend neighborhood are represented! It's all there!
Mister Rogers Statue Captures His Gentle Spirit
Above all, though, is the relationship between Mister Rogers and the little children that is so marvelously portrayed in Paul Day's work!
His creation pays homage to a man who was the epitome of kindness, gentleness, and selflessness. Mister Rogers, honored with a huge, bigger-than-life statue was, conversely, always meek in spirit!
Here are a few numbers about Fred McFeely Rogers. He made almost 900 episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood over the course of 31 seasons. He obtained more than one degree. After graduating from Rollins College in 1954, he went on later to attend seminary and become a Presbyterian
Mister Rogers brought important topics to his show. As the host, he discussed divorce at a time when the country was seeing a big increase. He tackled violence and death. He modeled acceptance for those with disabilities because he knew that sometimes people react negatively to those that are different. And, he modeled understanding and friendship with those of other races, because he knew it was critical to overcoming segregation. Mister Rogers had an amazing spirit.
It rained on the day of the unveiling of the Mister Rogers statue, which is named "A Beautiful Day for a Neighbor," but the celebration went on without a hitch. Without a doubt, though, if the world was full of neighbors like Fred Rogers, it would be a better place on sunny and rainy days!
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness," Galatians 5:22
WATCH: Rollins College Unveils Mister Rogers Statue In Florida
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