Long live the memory of The Duke, a True American Patriot
I received notice of this web site and article via email from Jack Marino.
Marion Michael Morrison had a birthday a week or so ago. I can’t begin to tell you how much that means to me. I can’t begin to tell you how much he means to me. You might know him by his screen name. He’s “Duke” to his friends.
To the rest of us, he’s John Wayne.
John Wayne. A name that brings up a lot of complicated emotions in people: smiles of nostalgia; an adrenalin rush; a bittersweet memory; or, even anger among those who consider themselves the enlightened, the intellectual elite, the folks that would just as soon pretend the middle of America--the heartland--didn’t exist.
Wayne as Ringo Kid in Stagecoach.
To me, in his early movies, like Stagecoach, Tall in the Saddle and the Fighting Seabees, Wayne is like the older brother I never had—always there to get me out of trouble. In later films, particularly Sands of Iwo Jima, he’s my Dad.
John Wayne as Sgt. John M. Stryker in The Sands of Iwo Jima.
Dad was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne. He’s always reminded me of Wayne, the way he stands, the way he reacts, the way he sits with his head down, contemplating his shoes when he’s solving a problem. That sudden eye blink when he lets his guard down and shows some emotion or some appreciation for a job well done. The bit of tenderness and humor under the hero mask. Never more so than in Sands of Iwo Jima. All I have to do to revisit the Dad of my youth is to watch that movie.
I learned about being a father and a leader and a man from that movie and from that time. And from my Dad, or course, who sat on the couch next to me and watched it, and lived his life like a hero. (Of course Dad would say all this was bull; but, he was always more of a Robert Mitchum fan.)