Thanks to countless memes, the late TV host Fred Rogers became an unwitting inspirational figure Monday amid the two explosions that rocked the Boston Marathon. Reuters

[Update: 4:01 p.m.] In the spirit of putting rivalries aside, the following tweet was sent by the official New York Yankees Twitter account about an hour ago:

Beantown, like the world, needs an inspirational figure to look to in times of trouble.

Shortly after two explosions tore through the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, meme-makers around the country were working overtime posting inspirational images and words of encouragement for those who had suffered through the horrific incident that left three people dead and more than 140 injured. Perhaps the most widely shared words of wisdom came from Fred Rogers, the late host of the long-running children’s program “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

The quote was incorporated into countless memes on Facebook and Twitter Monday, with commenters remarking how it so perfectly encapsulates the idea that humans are at their best when things are worst.

Rogers Meme
Inspirational Fred Rogers meme

And it wasn’t just empty lip service. Multiple eyewitness accounts from Boston Monday described people not running away from the bloody carnage on Boylston Street, but rather running toward the injured to assist in any way they could. As ABC News reported, marathon bystanders bravely joined first responders in assisting victims shortly after the explosions.

And as the Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman put it: “In the end, the terrorists will fail, because Bostonians did not turn from their fellow men -- they turned toward them. And that is the real music of mankind.”

As acts of heroism continued in Boston on Monday, onlookers in New York City -- traditionally Boston’s greatest rival -- put their animosity aside and expressed their support. As Gothamist’s Jen Carlson reported, the art projects NYC Light Brigade and the Illuminator beamed messages of encouragement on the side of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. “Peace and Love,” read one message, with the other saying, “It shouldn't take a tragedy for us to come together.”

The projections included a Milton Glaser-inspired “NY Hearts B” graphic incorporating a Boston Red Sox typeface, thereby declaring a temporary truce in the most famous sports rivalry of all time.

Brooklyn Academy of Music
Words of encouragement were projected on the walls of the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

The countless tales of heroics and good deeds -- some of which were compiled here by the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper -- are a testament to the strength and resolve of one of America’s toughest cities. But sometimes the most moving displays of human fortitude come from the tiniest gesture of kindness. Case in point: the anonymous do-gooder who purchased the URL simply to “keep some conspiracy theory kook from owning it.”

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