Fred Rogers at the Television Hall of Fame

Fred Rogers is one of my favorite pastors. In 1999, he was honored by the Television Hall of Fame for his work on TV. Here is the speech he gave that day.

Fame is a four-letter word; and like tape or zoom or face or pain or life or love, what ultimately matters is what we do with it.

I feel that those of us in television are chosen to be servants. It doesn’t matter what our particular job, we are chosen to help meet the deeper needs of those who watch and listen – day and night!

The conductor of the orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl grew up in a family that had little interest in music, but he often tells people he found his early inspiration from the fine musicians on television.

Last month a thirteen-year-old boy abducted an eight-year-old girl; and when people asked him why, he said he learned about it on TV. “Something different to try,” he said. “Life’s cheap; what does it matter?”

Well, life isn’t cheap. It’s the greatest mystery of any millennium, and television needs to do all it can to broadcast that … to show and tell what the good in life is all about.

But how do we make goodness attractive? By doing whatever we can do to bring courage to those whose lives move near our own – by treating our “neighbor” at least as well as we treat ourselves and allowing that to inform everything that we produce.

Who in your life has been such a servant to you … who has helped you love the good that grows within you? Let’s just take ten seconds to think of some of those people who have loved us and wanted what was best for us in life -those who have encouraged us to become who we are tonight – just ten seconds of silence.

No matter where they are – either here or in heaven – imagine how pleased those people must be to know that you thought of them right now.

We all have only one life to live on earth. And through television, we have the choice of encouraging others to demean this life or to cherish it in creative imaginative ways.

On behalf of all of us at Family Communications and the Public Broadcasting Service, I thank you for all the good that you do in this unique enterprise … and for wanting our Neighborhood to be part of this celebration tonight. Thank you very much.

Text taken from The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember.

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