John Wayne didn’t keep secrets. If he had an opinion, he was going to share it. That said, he also knew how to share those thoughts in a way that respected everyone involved. This was certainly the case when Jimmy Carter was elected president. John Wayne did not vote for Carter and he didn’t hesitate to let Carter know that. During a video, John Wayne’s son Ethan talked about the unique relationship Wayne had with President Jimmy Carter. Wayne even wrote Carter letters during his presidency. However, Wayne always signed his letters in a special way reminding Carter of his political views.
“But when President Carter was elected, my father wrote to him and he would sign it, ‘From the loyal opposition.’ Letting him know that, although my father didn’t vote for him, he recognized him as his president and he was there to support,” said Ethan.
Even decades after his passing, John Wayne still serves as an ideal for American patriotism. Ethan added that Americans could benefit from a little bit of John Wayne’s attitude today.
“I think our country could use a little bit of that spirit today,” said Ethan.
Jimmy Carter Honored John Wayne With the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Undoubtedly, John Wayne is an American icon. He brought the gritty, wild west to life for decades with his movies. But he was more than just an actor, he was also a man who deeply loved his country. Wayne constantly looked for ways to show his patriotism whether it was by starring alongside real-life military heroes, or recording an album of patriotic poetry. Apparently, Jimmy Carter agreed, despite the special letters from Wayne, because he honored him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980. Ethan commented on the award during the same video.
“Oddly enough it was awarded to him by Jimmy Carter who my father didn’t vote for.”
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor a civilian can receive in America. So, basically, President Jimmy Carter and John Wayne are the ultimate examples of two people who can disagree yet hold each other in high regard. Unfortunately, Wayne was not able to accept the award. He passed away a year prior in 1979. Nevertheless, we’re sure the Duke graciously accepted the award wherever he was and then respectfully signed off with “From the loyal opposition, John Wayne.”