John Wayne Estate Tributes Fallen Military Heroes on Memorial Day With Moving Message, Photo of The Duke

by Samantha Whidden

On Monday (May 30th), the John Wayne Estate took to Instagram to share a special tribute to the fallen military heroes with a moving message and a photo of The Duke for Memorial Day weekend. 

“Happy Memorial Day,” the John Wayne Estate shares in the special Memorial Day post. “Today we remember all the men and women who lost their lives while fighting for our freedom.”

John Wayne shared his love for the U.S.A. as well as the military in the special 1973 album of poetry “America, Why I Love Her”. The idea came from actor Forrest Truck after he had heard John Mitchum recite his poem “Why Are You Marching, Son?” While on location with Wayne for “Chisum,” Tucker asked Mitchum if he could read the poem. Cindy Mitchum, the daughter of John, revealed that Wayne, who had tears in his eyes, told her father at the time, “I’ve never recorded anything in my life, but I’m going to record an album of your poetry.”

Within the first two weeks of its release, “American, Why I Love Her” sold more than 100,000 copies. It even made Billboard’s Hot Country Albums chart, peaking at No. 13. Among the poems that John Wayne read on the album are “Why I Love Her”; “Face the Flag”; “The Pledge of Allegiance”; and “Tops.”

John Wayne Opens Up About Mitchum’s Poetry 

While speaking to the Bridgeport Post, John Wayne revealed what drew him to the “America, Why I Love Her” poems. “John Mitchum thinks like I think and writes like I wish I could and he had written a couple of things and I read them. I said, ‘Gee, these are wonderful.’”

John Wayne also spoke about Mitchum having a great feeling for his country. “I listened to him out and we talked about different ideas,” he continued. However, the late actor admitted he was skeptical of the album at first. 

“I told him, ‘I’m not going to put any money in this kind of thing,’” John Wayne reflected. “This is a record of reflection and I don’t think that they buy records to put their hands across their fat bellies and philosophize. But if it eventually caught on a little I’ll be happy. If it causes a little bit of rapport between everybody in our country I’ll be very happy.”

Also speaking about his experience on albums, John Wayne said, “I talked on a religious record one time, a single, for one side. And Dimitri Tiomkin used a piece of ‘The Alamo’ in which I talked about freedom and had that in one of his albums, for half a minute.”