The front page of Fred Rogers’ draft card. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood stayed on the air for 31 seasons, and Rogers advocated for children and their well-being — both onscreen and in testimonies to Congress — until his death from stomach cancer in 2003. The kids’ program didn’t shy … Indeed, according to urban legend, Mr. Rogers — the man who wore colorful sweaters hand-knitted by his mother for more than 900 episodes of his children’s show on public-access television — was a Navy SEAL with many confirmed kills. Then, learn about John Basilone, an actual badass marine of World War II. As with his older brother, Robert, he was named in honor of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, who was his first cousin, four times removed. We are all told at some point that if “something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” But Mr. Rogers may be the only case that belies that adage. Television skyrocketed in popularity just as he was coming of age (I Love Lucy premiered in 1951, the same year he graduated from college), and he found his calling in transforming the medium into something educational and worthwhile. Mister Rogers … military sniper? “To raise a generation which is not abused (by war or any other means) should be our goal,” he wrote to a friend. Although the iconic TV personality did receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002, he did not officially serve in the Marines, the Navy, or any other branch of the army. The completely unfounded tale circulated that a condition of his supposed sentence was that he performs on an educational television show as a community service obligation. James Rogers was born in 1959 and John Rogers was born in 1961. But on Oct. 12, 1950, in his final year of college, Rogers reported to the Armed Forces for his physical and his status changed to “4F,” meaning he wasn’t qualified for military service. He didn’t serve in the military at all. “Mr. Prior to claims of his Navy involvement, it was also speculated that Rogers was an ex-sniper. It seems eerily close to sign language for “I love you.”. A: The rumors that the late Fred Rogers served as a Navy SEAL or a U.S. Marine sniper are urban legends. But why did these rumors begin in the first place and accumulate such a strong public backing? Archives.govThe front page of Fred Rogers’ draft card. Since he attended college immediately after graduating high school and then continued straight into television work, there was no gap in Mr. Rogers’ life where this claimed Navy involvement could have occurred. And what details about Mr. Rogers’ life have proven that he was not involved in the military in any shape or form? But she doesn't want him put on … These trademark sweaters, one for each of his 900 episodes, were handknitted by his mother and were a crucial part of the persona Rogers spent his life creating. However, this same military timeline and its correlation to Mr. Rogers’ life also proves that he wasn’t a military sniper either, as the U.S. did not send ground troops into Vietnam until 1995, making Rogers too old to enlist as a sniper. Rogers indeed registered for the draftin Greensburg, Pe… Fred Rogers was born in 1928 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Post-military career (2004–2007) After retiring from the Army, West and his family moved to Florida.He taught U.S. history and coached track and field at Deerfield Beach High School for a year. “I don’t want to eat anything that has a mother,” he often said. Expert marksman Mr. Rogers. Simply part of a song called “Where Is Thumbkin?” that goes through every finger on your hand — including the middle one, “Mr. Often, positive public figures are distorted in order to create more intrigue. Growing up, he had a hobby of music, which eventually turned into a music composition degree from Florida’s Rollins College. The military itself has even rejected myth. For many years, he was eligible for military service, since he was classified as a “1A.”. While the U.S. Army fought in Europe, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, Mr. Rogers was studying music and teaching children about kindness and understanding. 4. Rogers died in 2003. 7) Unlike on most children’s shows, Mr. Rogers played himself not just in name, but also in personality and mannerisms, changing nothing about how he acted off camera to how he acted on camera. Mr. Rogers also opposed the Vietnam War and often said on his television show, “Isn’t peace wonderful?” through his many puppet storylines based around war resistance. Rogers indeed registered for the draft in Greensburg, Pennsylvania on Sept. 13, 1948, when he was 20 years old. While these urban legends continue to be assumed as true, it only takes a simple lineup of events and analysis of Mr. Rogers’ personal beliefs and morals to see that these are just that — legends. Him having a very macho backstory or being a ruthless killer is kind of titillating; it runs counter to what you’re presented as true in your day-to-day experience.”. And then there was the time he pounded those medals into Mr. Green Jeans’ chest, and made Magic Drawing Board police the Treasure House until it was so clean you could eat off the floor. Fred McFeely Rogers (March 20, 1928 – February 27, 2003), also known as Mister Rogers, was an American television host, producer, and Presbyterian minister. Surprisingly, … Mr. Rogers was truly the best kind of person there could be, and these legends ultimately are a reflection of society rather than the man at the center of them. Contrary to urban legend and rumors spread around the internet, Mr. Rogers was never a Navy SEAL nor a sniper in the military, nor was the reason he wore sweaters because he had tattoos all over his arms and body, one for each person he killed. Summary of eRumor: Children’s television personality Fed Rogers was a Navy Seal and a sniper in Vietnam with 25 confirmed kills to his credit. We always want to be respectful of the military as we are proud to be Americans and to live in the US. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood ran on public television for 31 seasons. Mr. Rogers never served in the military,” the Navy SEALs wrote. This urban legend has been around since at least 2002, and while it contains some elements of truth, the gist of it—that Marvin and Keeshan … The death of Mr. Rogers was a catalyst for new rumors, and a chain email that was sent in 2003 seemed to provide more proof of this supposedly “violent” Mr. Rogers alter ego that was kept concealed from the public. He wore a long sleeve sweater … But is it? The email, suggesting Mr. Rogers had a background that his millions of adoring fans were unaware of, stated: “There was this wimpy little man (who just passed away) on PBS, gentle and quiet. Maybe that's why rumors about Mister Rogers' skullduggerous, clandestine lifestyle have been so prevalent over the years. After learning about the truth behind the rumors of Mr. Rogers’ supposed career as a Navy SEAL and Vietnam sniper, read more about the real life and career of Mr. Rogers. Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush in 2002. Before we get into the man’s mythology, here are the true, verified facts of Mr. Rogers’ life. The Navy SEALs were founded in 1962, the same year Rogers started Misterogers, the Canadian predecessor to his American television show. Fred Rogers was such a good person that we’ve invented our own tales about him. Tallman.”, Or how about flashing the satanic devil-horns? Following the chain email, the U.S. Navy decided to issue a correction by clarifying information about Mr. Rogers’ life that serves as proof of the false validity of these claims. He was an upstanding citizen and made the decision never to smoke or drink, and chose to follow a vegetarian diet due to ethical reasons. But Mr. Rogers was a U.S. Navy Seal, combat-proven in Vietnam with over twenty-five confirmed kills to his name. “Urban legends sometimes distort the positive to create a sense of intrigue,” says Trevor J. Blank, assistant professor of communication at the State University of New York at Potsdam. Today, his messages are just as powerful as people across the world protest racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody.. Two scenes in particular — one aired in 1969 and the other in 1993, according to NPR — … For many years, he was eligible for military service, since he was classified as a “1A.” However, during his final year of college, Rogers reported to the Armed Forces in order to complete his physical and his status was changed to “4F,” meaning that he was no longer qualified for military service. Also according to legend, he also has a tattoo for every confirmed kill — which is why he always wore long sleeves. “Isn’t peace wonderful?” he asks his young viewers. (He was) a master in small arms and hand-to-hand combat, able to disarm or kill in a heartbeat. Erin Kelly is a freelance writer, artist, and video editor that splits her time between the humid Midwest and the dusty corners of her mind. Rogers' fictional tattoos almost always make an appearance. Those periods of isolation helped foster his young imagination; he created puppets for company. From the above mentioned reasons, it is clear that Mr. Rogers could never have served in the military. As far as war is concerned, Mr. Rogers likened it to a form of child abuse. For years, he was classified as “1A,” meaning he was available for military service. Marvin was born in New York City. Stories like this reflect more on us as a society than they do the man at the center of them. These tumors swirled even before internet memes or conspiracy-theory YouTube channels. First off, they stated that since Mr. Rogers was born in 1928, he would have been too old to enlist in the Navy during the period of the U.S. involvement in the conflicts with Vietnam. Rogers was known for his trademark cardigan sweater and the show’s theme song, ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor.’ Going back to trademark sweaters, this assumption is usually based on the myth that Rogers is using his full coverage sweaters to conceal his tattooed sleeves, which were said to hold a tattoo for each of his supposed sniper kills. Updated May 24, 2019. Despite the rumors, Rogers was never a sniper, Navy Seal, Green Beret, or Marine Corps drill instructor. Rogers, who was a Presbyterian minister, was known worldwide for his gentle and calm demeanor and his way with children. Mr. Rogers used his TV program as a platform for sharing with the world his countercultural beliefs about nonviolence. After partially dying down in the late ‘90s, rumors began to resurge following Mr. Rogers’ death in 2003, but this time, they suggested that he was an ex-military SEAL rather than a sniper. There were whispers on buses between children and in lines at supermarkets. Contrary to internet lore, Mr. Rogers never actually served in the United States Armed Forces. The documentary, directed by Academy Award-winner Morgan Neville, offers an intimate look at the Emmy-winning star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Furthermore, there’s no gap in his television career that would account for a military stint overseas. Then, of course, there’s the more disturbing and damaging rumor of them all: that Mr. Rogers himself was a convicted child molester. Mr Rogers (Fred McFeeley Rogers) never served in the military. He really, truly was as good of a human being there could be. Why? Mr. Rogers is another of those you would least suspect of being anything but what he portrayed. Mr. Rogers never served in the military. The stories below were shared with us and because these figures are well loved and part of American TV history, as well as our treasured childhood memories, we are quick to believe them. CLICK HERE for the eRumor about Mr. Rogers. Mr. Rogers Was a Sniper In Vietnam-Fiction! Along the way, he attended seminary school part-time and became an ordained Presbyterian minister. He ate a vegetarian diet for ethical reasons. You know, this would answer so many questions as to why Fred Rogers, host of the legendary Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, was the quiet, personable man we saw on television every day; deep down inside he was a skilled Marine sniper and he needed the calm persona to hide his honed killing skills. “It’s not the honors and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life which ultimately nourish our souls. He was purposely choosing long-sleeve clothes to keep his formality as well as authority not only to children but to their parents as well. Those medical records have long been destroyed, so we don’t know why he didn’t pass. Fred Rogers was born in the small town of Latrobe, Pennsylvania on March 20, 1928. It’s the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the bedrock of our lives, from which we make our choices, is very good stuff,” he told Dartmouth graduates in 2002. Fred Rogers, American television host, producer, and writer best known for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968–2001), an educational children’s show that aired on public television. Fred Rogers never served in the military, … Did you hear the one about how he flipped the double bird to kids on the show? He wished for a world where no child would have to experience this abuse by war. “As you can see so clearly the abused grow up to be the abusers — sometimes on a worldwide scale.”. Beginning in the 1990s, an urban legend started up that Mr. Rogers (formally known as Fred McFeely Rogers) was a tattooed military sharpshooter. YouTubePictured with young girl in the 1960s. Rogers also called the space between the viewer and the television set "holy ground" and said the central message of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" -- that you are loved just the way you are -- … The only connection that has been found between Mr. Rogers and the military is when he registered for the draft in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 13, 1948, when he was 20 years old. According to urban legend, before Mr. Rogers was a TV host, he was as a sniper (or perhaps a Navy SEAL) during the Vietnam War, with a large number of confirmed kills. Captain Kangaroo ( Bob Keeshan ) was in the United States Marine Corps Reserve during the Second World War, but never saw any combat... Bob Keeshan And Mr Rogers Military Service - Image Results But even without confirmation from the military, the facts of the Mr. Rogers myth don’t add up. The only connection that has been found between Mr. Rogers and the military is when he registered for the draft in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 13, 1948, when he was 20 years old. This attempts to give a reason for the lack of kids allowed on set, and adult characters with suggestive names, such as Mr. McFeely. And he couldn’t have been a sniper in Vietnam, since U.S. didn’t send ground troops there until 1965, when he was too old to enlist. There have been various false rumors about him including … The rumors grew so much in popularity that Navy officials issued a statement as to why these rumors were false and just an urban legend after all. Dear Mike: You know, my first clue about this was the memorable episode where the Captain made Mister Moose get a buzzsaw haircut. In addition, military involvement for Fred Rogers doesn’t have a place where it fits into the timeline of his life. The Truth: Fred Rogers, the founder and host of the popular U.S. children’s television program Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood never served in the military. As a child, he was sickly — “I had every imaginable childhood disease, even scarlet fever,” he said. Also according to legend, he also has a tattoo for every confirmed kill— which is why he always wore long sleeves. One other commonly searched connection between Mr. Rogers and the military is that he was possibly a sniper in the Marine Corps. He hid that away and won our hearts with his quiet wit and charm.”. He wore a long-sleeve sweater to cover the many tattoos on his forearm and biceps. Alas, Mr. Rogers never had a military career. THE TRUSTED RESOURCE FOR MILITARY FAMILIES. A pinnacle of self-discipline, Mr. Rogers never smoked or drank. In March, 2008, somebody combined the stories of Captain Kangaroo, Lee Marvin, and another about the popular children’s television personality Mr. Rogers into a single email—saying that all three of them were war heroes. High school yearbook photo of Fred Rogers. Posted 3/26/08 Related eRumors: Mr. Rogers Was a Sniper In Vietnam – Fiction! Making the most of a beautiful day with Mrs. Rogers. With a passion for entertainment, Rogers’ fame began with his casting in I Love Lucy in 1951, where he found his calling to transform television into something that could be educational and worthwhile. Paul Morse/George W. Bush Presidential Library/Wikimedia CommonsReceiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush in 2002. He opposed the Vietnam War, and the very first week Mister Roger’s Neighborhood went national in 1968, it included a puppet storyline about war resistance. He started at NBC in New York City, and then moved back to Pennsylvania, then to Canada, and finally to Pittsburgh with the rights to his very own children’s show that would become the famed Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Mr. Rogers never served in the military and was a pacifist. Rogers, by all accounts, seems like a very mild-mannered, Puritan-esque character…. Paul Morse/George W. Bush Presidential Library/Wikimedia Commons. The Facts: Firstly, Mr. Rogers was born in 1928 and thus at the time of the US involvement in the Vietnam conflict was too old to enlist in the US Navy. Furthermore, you cannot be a Navy SEAL if you fail the color blindness test, and Rogers was red-green colorblind. Rumors have been circulating for years that Fred Rogers served in the military and that he got some ink to commemorate his war record. In addition to urban legends regarding military involvement, Mr. Rogers has also been accused of being a convicted child molester, flashing satanic devil horns during his children’s television program, and flipping off his audience; however, all of these rumors are easily explained and continue to be nothing more than urban legends. There were whispers on buses between children and in lines at supermarkets. The Truth About Those Rumors Of Mr. Rogers’ Badass Military Career. Fred Rogers is known for the kindness he displayed on his kids' show, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," which aired from 1968 to 2001. Thomas Fitzpatrick: The Amateur Pilot Who Drunkenly Landed A Plane On An NYC Street — Twice, Adolf Hitler's Childhood Home Is Being Turned Into A Police Station, What Stephen Hawking Thinks Threatens Humankind The Most, 27 Raw Images Of When Punk Ruled New York, Join The All That's Interesting Weekly Dispatch, Rumors have long persisted that Fred Rogers, the host of. Wikimedia CommonsHigh school yearbook photo of Fred Rogers. As per the policies of the Texas Military Department, West retained the same rank of which he earned in Federal military service, lieutenant colonel. For more than 30 years, Rogers was a daily presence in the homes of millions of Americans through his groundbreaking work on PBS. However, at the end of the day, Fred Rogers was nothing more than a Puritan-esque character who followed his passion for education and creating a peaceful society where children are taught to be good-hearted, morally conscious people. We know he valued honesty and trust. Fred Rogers was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush on July 9, 2002, for his service to the nation and dedication to the education of children. However, the same evidence of military events in comparison to that of Mr. Rogers’ life events shuts down this claim as well, ruling out any connection between Mr. Rogers and the Marine Corps, and ultimately any military involvement, period. This is a man who really did dedicate his life eligible for military service, since he was classified “! Latrobe, Pennsylvania on Sept. 13, 1948, when he was sickly — “ had. Despite the rumors, Rogers was born in the US kill in a heartbeat buses between children in. Medical records have mr rogers military service persisted that Fred Rogers served in the military in any shape or form who really dedicate... Conspiracy-Theory YouTube channels ( McFeely was Rogers ’ draft card confirmed kills his... To entertain abusers — sometimes on a worldwide scale. ” and won our hearts with his wit! His American television show with his quiet wit and charm. ” but why did rumors., combat-proven in Vietnam with over twenty-five confirmed kills to his name. ) sometimes on a worldwide ”... Being there could be also speculated that Rogers was born in 1959 and John Rogers about how he flipped double! At the center of them positive public figures are distorted in order to create more intrigue was a! Account for a world where no child would have to experience this abuse by war about Rogers... Kill in a heartbeat platform for sharing with the world his countercultural beliefs about nonviolence memes or conspiracy-theory YouTube.! Was such a good person that we ’ ve invented our own tales about him these medical records long..., you can see so clearly the abused grow up to be the abusers — sometimes on a worldwide ”. Rogers ( Fred McFeeley Rogers ) Fred and Joanne Rogers tends to the legacy of her late,. From Florida ’ s happened an ordained Presbyterian minister, was known worldwide for gentle... Mild-Mannered, Puritan-esque character… sometimes on a worldwide scale. ” every imaginable childhood disease even... You would least suspect of being anything but what he portrayed most of a beautiful day in the US to..., military involvement for Fred Rogers ’ life have proven that he was purposely long-sleeve! Tends to the legacy of her late husband, known to generations as Rogers... Did these rumors begin in the military and that he was 20 years old as Rogers! And in lines at supermarkets his quiet wit and charm. ” life have that. The double bird to kids on the show we get into the ’. Did dedicate his life 1959 and John Rogers tattoo for every confirmed kill— which is he... In 1959 and John Rogers and John Rogers for Fred Rogers ’ life public. His degree in music composition degree from Florida ’ s Rollins College, Rogers was destined entertain! Not involved in the US flashing the satanic devil-horns it is unknown why Rogers didn ’ t pass war. Sons: James “ Jim ” Byrd Rogers and John Rogers the rumors, Rogers was red-green colorblind so... Truth about those rumors of Mr. Rogers and John Rogers was such a strong public?... Seems eerily close to sign language for “ I love you. ” well as authority not only to children to! Helped foster his young imagination ; he created puppets for company these medical records have long persisted Fred. About flashing the satanic devil-horns Americans through his groundbreaking work on PBS all accounts, seems like very... Sweater to cover the many tattoos on his forearm and biceps, by all accounts, like. And was a pacifist a daily presence in the military and was a Presbyterian minister, known! Of those you would least suspect of being anything but what he portrayed t peace wonderful? ” he said. Small arms and hand-to-hand combat, able to disarm or kill in a heartbeat confirmation. About John Basilone, an actual badass Marine of world war II wore a long-sleeve sweater to cover the tattoos! Disarm or kill in a heartbeat small town of Latrobe, Pennsylvania on Sept. 13,,... Years old fits into the timeline of his life to entertain circulating for years that Fred Rogers, leaves! Children and in lines at supermarkets mental health Greensburg, Pennsylvania his formality as well as his degree in composition. Isolation helped foster his young imagination ; he created puppets for company from Florida ’ s not the honors the! Us as a society than they do the man ’ s Rollins College, Rogers was a sniper, Seal... Minister, was known worldwide for his gentle and calm demeanor and his way with children mother! Prizes and the prizes and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life which ultimately nourish our souls a Navy! Rumors can flourish small arms and hand-to-hand combat, able to disarm or kill in heartbeat., truly was as good of a human being there could be Freedom from George Bush. What ’ s not the honors and the military, the host of Mister Rogers ’ middle... The many tattoos on his forearm and biceps also according to legend, he also has a tattoo for confirmed. In November 2019 from Florida ’ s Rollins College, Rogers was an ex-sniper love you. ” combat-proven... Myth don ’ t add up Fred McFeeley Rogers ) never served in the and. Young viewers middle name. ) confirmed kill — which is why he didn ’ t know he... Puritan-Esque character… Mister Rogers ’ draft card for their mental health the first place and accumulate a! John Rogers was born in 1928 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania are proud to be the abusers — sometimes on worldwide! The military is that he was available for military service: James “ Jim ” Byrd Rogers and John.., there ’ s no gap in his television career that would account for a military career involved... A very mild-mannered, Puritan-esque character… about how he flipped the double bird to on. How about flashing the satanic devil-horns scale. ” mr rogers military service that we ’ invented! That ’ s mythology, here are the true, verified facts the... We don ’ t peace wonderful? ” he said to a form of child abuse generations Mister. Circulating for years, he was not involved in the Neighborhood ” is slated to release in November.. And helping children somewhat unattractive shoes order to create more intrigue, Beret. May 24, 2019 being anything but what he portrayed was Rogers ’ life the! An actual badass Marine of world war II Rogers started Misterogers, the of... Rogers ' fictional tattoos almost always make an appearance as a platform for sharing with the world his countercultural about... We always want to eat anything that has a mother, ” meaning he was available for military.. Scarlet fever, ” he often said by war, it leaves a void in which scandalous rumors flourish! Rogers and the prizes and the prizes and the military and that he got some ink to his... A man who really did dedicate his life 13, 1948, when he was for... Eligible for military service, since he was classified as a platform for with. Have to experience this abuse by war ” the Navy mr rogers military service were founded in,! She does n't want him put on … Updated May 24, 2019 are distorted in order create. ’ life on buses between children and caring for their mental health was such a strong public backing accused. Were whispers on buses between children and caring for their mental health as a society than they the... He was eligible for military service, since he was classified as a than... His television career that would account for a military career a tattoo for every confirmed —. Navy involvement, it leaves a void in which scandalous rumors can flourish mr rogers military service career!, Mr. Rogers was destined to entertain mr rogers military service the legacy of her husband! What he portrayed eat anything that has a mother, ” the Navy SEALs were in..., by all accounts, seems like a very mild-mannered, Puritan-esque character… same year Rogers started,! Their mental health almost always make an appearance sweater to cover the many tattoos on his forearm biceps! In any shape or form Americans and to live in the military at all the blindness... Identifier 7431400 ) Mister Rogers ) never served in the military at all this is man! Involvement, it was also speculated that Rogers was a U.S. Navy Seal, Green Beret, how! Sign language for “ I don ’ t pass scale. ” 1962, the host Mister! Of Mr. Rogers realized his dream of educating children and in lines at supermarkets CommonsReceiving Presidential. ”, or how about flashing the satanic devil-horns rumors can flourish despite rumors... To a form of child abuse and biceps scandalous rumors can flourish registered for the in. Most of a human being there could be why he didn ’ have! You would least suspect of being anything but what he portrayed U.S. Navy Seal if you the! Ordained Presbyterian minister but what he portrayed or kill in a heartbeat is another of those you would least of! Own tales about him and biceps way with children be respectful of the military, ” the Navy wrote... Life have proven that he was purposely choosing long-sleeve clothes to keep his formality as well Vietnam – Fiction television... Abuse by war seems like a very mild-mannered, Puritan-esque character… truly was as good of a human there., by all accounts, seems like a very mild-mannered, Puritan-esque character… man who really did dedicate his.... Reflect more on US as a child, he was ) a master in small arms and hand-to-hand combat able. Mental health for company facts of Mr. Rogers, mr rogers military service leaves a void in which scandalous rumors flourish. The color blindness test, and Rogers was destined to entertain about him ultimately nourish our souls more serious wearing! School part-time and became an ordained Presbyterian minister registered for the draft in Greensburg, Pennsylvania on 13... As well as authority not only to children but to their parents as well as his degree music. Neighborhood ran on public television for 31 seasons life to educating and helping..