Photos by Armando Gallardo, Words by Brandon Wetherbee
WWE Superstar, reality TV star, Today Show co-host, comedic actor, action hero and children’s movie voice artist John Cena read to children at The Library of Congress yesterday. It was perfect.
Cena, a 40-year-old that actually embodies Hulk Hogan’s mantra of saying your prayers and eating your vitamins, has been incredibly popular with the youth of America. In addition to appearing on WWE programming for over 15 years, he’s granted over 500 wishes for Make-A-Wish, holding the record for most wishes. His upcoming role as Ferdinand in Ferdinand based on The Story of Ferdinand should solidify his spot as a children’s hero for the next few decades.
The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. It holds 164 million items on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves. But the Internet exists and Kindles exist and why would you ever go to a library if you could read whatever you wanted on whatever you’re using to read this?
John Cena reading in the Coolidge Auditorium to school children from across the DMV (and everyone watching online), is the type of event that shines a light on one of D.C.’s best institutions, childhood literacy, and spreads wonderful lessons of tolerance, hustle, loyalty and respect.
I am not a child. I am an adult man. My heart grew three sizes watching the professional wrestler answer the children’s question. The highlight from the cheap seats (press sat in the back as they should have, I would have felt like a very bad man if a grade-schooler couldn’t see The Franchise (one of Cena’s nicknames)) was when Cena answered a question about his favorite flower.
In The Story of Ferdinand, Ferdinand likes to sit and smell the flowers under the cork tree. So Cena was asked what flowers he likes to smell. He informed the children his favorite flowers are roses. A little girl the row in front of me fanned herself with joy, like the pre-teens fainting at early Beatles’ performances, before exclaiming to her teacher, “Roses are my favorite!”
If you want more super cute Cena stories, check out Washingtonian’s coverage of the event. They sent an actual child to cover. It’s great.
If you want more photos of very happy children and a man made entirely of muscles, keep scrolling.
If you’re reading this and have any institutional power like The Library of Congress, please, try to get professional wrestlers like Cena come and read to children. It doesn’t matter if this is a just a marketing ploy for a Twentieth Century Fox movie, hundreds of children now have the memory of a big man reading about a big bull that wants to be seen as more than just how he appears. That’s a valuable lesson money can’t buy.