Fred Rogers

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Once in a while, a publication asks who the greatest American of our lifetime is. And while Cracked would never presume to answer that question, we absolutely can. Is it Zombie Teddy Roosevelt? The puppeteer who made Ronald Reagan come alive? Former San Antonio Spurs center David Robinson?

Strong contenders, all, but no. Sit down, neighbor, and hear of a man who did not conquer the world, but did it one better; he reminded us that the world needs unity rather than conquest. He walked among us as a man, although he was a hand-to-God saint. They say the difference between a saint and a psychopath is empathy, and Mr. Fred Rogers had an ocean of it, which makes him either the sanest man in history or the craziest hero we ever had.

If you’re from some country that doesn’t have puppets and never heard of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, it’s OK! He loves you anyway. In fact, he’d want to introduce you to all of us so we could learn from you.

At my signal, take off those ironic smirks and don your extra-strength smiles, because your faith in human beings is about to get an upgrade.

5 Moments That Prove Mr. Rogers Was the Greatest American

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Fred Rogers often told this story about when he was a boy and would see scary things on 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.”