Gov. Tom Wolf designated Thursday, May 23, as “143 Day” in Pennsylvania in homage to one of Pittsburgh’s most iconic figures, Fred Rogers.
Rogers, a Latrobe native, rose to national prominence as a children’s television host with his “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” program from 1968-2001. The show, produced at WQED’s Pittsburgh studio and aired on PBS, became a cultural touchstone for its messages of kindness and acceptance, which sprung directly from Rogers’ open and loving personality.
Those who knew him say one of the many ways Rogers expressed affection for others was by using the number 143, created by using the number of letters in each word of “I love you.” Thus Wolf designated May 23, the 143rd day of the year, as a time to honor Rogers and his legacy.
At Pittsburgh International Airport, employees handed out 143 cookies emblazoned with “#143Day” to passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight with exactly 143 seats. Their destination? St. Louis, which voted to become an independent city in August 1876 – 143 years ago.