FOLKS: All my life I’ve felt privileged to have had good friends around me, privileged to have been able to do the kind of work I know and love the best, and to have been born in a country whose immense beauty and grandeur are matched only by the greatness of her people.
For a number of years I have tried to express a deep and profound love for these things; to be able to say what I feel in my heart. And, now ... I’ve had the chance to do so. I know most of you feel the same as I do about our country.
Now and then we gripe about some of her imperfections, but sometimes that’s good. Especially if it gets us working together to make things better.
It seems to me we often take too much for granted, and have a tendency to forget The Good Things About America.
My hope and prayer is that everyone know and love our country for what she really is and what she stands for. May we nurture her strengths, and strengthen her weaknesses so she will be, that she will always be,
Land Of The Free, and Home Of The Brave.
Ahhh the “Duke.”
As a child I was not a fan of John Wayne movies. My father loved them, though I could never quite figure out why. “Old movies,” I’d scoff, “boring.”
Then I grew up — or at least tried to.
As I’ve grown older I’ve come to truly enjoy his work. Found him to be a better actor than I ever realized or than he’s ever given credit for.
In movies like In Harm’s Way, or El Dorado, McClintock or The Shootist, I saw an actor with more depth than anyone was willing to admit while still saying “he just plays John Wayne.”
Certainly to some degree that was true, but in that I also began to see a businessman who was smart enough to realize his audience wanted to see something specific from him — and gave it to them.
In the process he became the biggest movie star the world has ever seen. For more than 40 years his name on the marquee guaranteed a hit.
There’s something else about the Duke worth reflecting on this July 6.
His intense patriotism.
He made The Green Berets at a time when the Vietnam War was not popular.
He remained a committed conservative at a time when Hollywood was turning increasingly to the left.
At the same time he remained a gracious man, who was willing to disagree without being disagreeable.
He often co-stared with Kirk Douglas, who was, and remains, a committed liberal, and yet while politically the two men could not have been further apart, they remained close friends throughout Wayne’s life.
Coming off an Independence Day when this country is as deeply divided as at anytime since the Civil War, it is perhaps important to remember that it is possible to disagree with an idea, without demonizing the man behind the idea.
We must begin to find the ideas with which we all agree, and start from that point.
We are all Americans, and that’s a place to start.
We all, I would hope, love freedom, and want our children and grand children to grow up in a nation which is free and prosperous.
Let us, this July, come together as Americans, not as democrats or republicans, liberals or conservatives — but as Americans and try to remember the things which made this country the freest nation the world has ever seen.
We were once the hope of the world.
We can be again — if we can come together.
This Independence Day, listening to the news, I found the words of Abraham Lincoln more prophetic than ever: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
I fear the time is short to reunite that house, but we must find a way, so that “government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
All IMHO of course.