The Duke’s estate paid respects to America’s fallen heroes with this snapshot of John Wayne filming The Green Berets in 1966-67.
While he did not serve himself, John Wayne was the ultimate patriot to many. His illustrious Hollywood career holds a legacy as heavy with wartime films as it is Westerns. With this in mind, his estate made sure to pay their respects this Memorial Day with a classic Green Berets photo of Wayne on set.
“Happy Memorial Day… Today we remember all the men and women who lost their lives while fighting for our freedom,” they captioned the shot on their official Instagram Monday:
His own questionable history with the WWII draft aside, Wayne would “do his part” for America through film. During the Vietnam War, The Duke wanted to make a film about the much-maligned war simply because Hollywood was completely uninterested in doing so. John Wayne changed all of that himself with The Green Berets. Within, he produced what would become the only major film during the Vietnam-era in support of the war.
Whether that was a move history will remember kindly or not, ‘Berets’ would absolutely change Wayne’s life. Firstly, it was one of only two films The Duke directed over his entire career, alongside his classic The Alamo in 1960. Wayne would also star in the picture as Col. Mike Kirby, as well.
‘The Green Berets’ Marked John Wayne Forever
If you see a photo of John Wayne from his later years, you’ll see a simple, golden brass bracelet on his right wrist. Wayne wore the accent wherever he went. Whether at the Oscars or filming any of his last films, The Duke would not be parted from its sheen. And The Green Berets is directly responsible Wayne came across the bracelet.
While filming in the summer of 1967, John Wayne got to know the indigenous Montagnard people of Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Also known as the Degar, the native group became legendary for their fierce fight against communism. Sharing this in common, Wayne became an honorary member of their peoples.
To signify this, the Montagnard gifted Wayne the very brass bracelet he would wear for the remainder of his life. The Duke wore this gift immediately as Kirby in ‘The Green Berets’. He would then wear it for every subsequent film for the remainder of his life.
In addition, Wayne would wear the bracelet when finally winning his first Oscar for “Best Actor” in ‘True Grit’ shortly after in 1970.
For far more on this incredible chapter in John Wayne’s life, we’ve got you covered. But above all, Outsider continues to honor our fallen servicemen & women the day after Memorial Day – and every day to follow. Thank you for your service, U.S. troops!