John Wayne – who – John Wayne

I was checking out at the cashier stand I started a conversation with the young woman cashier. In the conversation I mentioned John Wayne.  She replied “who” and I stated again john Wayne.  She had asked me if I was a veteran. So I started talking to her about a person who inspired me while I was in officer candidate school and soon to go to Vietnam.  During one of the classes the class was visited by the actor John Wayne.  He was filming a movie called Green Berets at Fort Benning.  He walked in still in a Green Beret uniform. He was a very big man. He walked up to our class and spent about 15 minutes thanking us for our service to our country.  To say the least when he left I felt like I could take on the world.

During my training I often heard the term of ” John Wayning” it.  This to me meant going forward without fear to fight evil.  During my tour in Vietnam, in a review of a battle, I was called out by my sergeant forJohn Wayning it during the earlier battle.  I must admit that I was guilty of that statement.  I just got up during a firefight and ran straight at the enemy as if I was a bulletproof.  In my mind John Wayne represented good fighting evil and always winning.  I must admit that watching television and watching Mr. Wayne’s movies I had a preconceived idea of what I should do when confronted with danger.  Even later on as a police officer, I would hear my partners cautioning me from John Wayning it. So when I heard the young cashier stated “who” I felt obligated to try to explain who John Wayne was.  I was interrupted by a man in front of me who had already checked out.  He looked at me and said you know john Wayne was just an actor.  I turned to him and replied I know he was an actor but he was he was a rare person who could inspire people to believe in doing good.  The man himself while off the screen lived a life that continued to inspire people to do good.  It does not take a title or a position for someone to be inspirational.  There are many actors on and off the screen but so few can inspire a nation like John Wayne.  I did not say John Wayne was my hero, but he did inspire me in a time of my life that forged what my action would be in the future.

I then turned back to the cashier as she finished my checking out.  Her last statement to me was I will look him up.  Part of getting older is that people who were important in your life are usually not the people important in a  younger person’s life who is 20 years younger , maybe 30 years younger than you.  I believe that every generation has its inspirational people and event as well as heroes and villains.  I also believe that there will be people in your life that will inspire you.  Maybe it will be a teacher, maybe a coworker or maybe an actor.  In my senior years I have found little opportunities to john Wayne it.  But no matter what I hope everyone finds inspiration where ever it may exist.


One thought on “John Wayne – who – John Wayne”

  1. You pops are an inspiration to me everyday, in the way you live your life and confront all things as they are presented to you. Rock on

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