John Wayne died in 1979 and, to this day, arguably no one has ever been more proud of their country than him.
The Duke wasn’t just a movie cowboy and soldier. He was a tried and true American patriot. He didn’t just beat his chest and wave his flag. No. The Duke loved his country deeply. At the same time, he knew America’s history well.
In a public address, Wayne showed off his knowledge of history with a purpose. He wanted everyone who heard his words to know that what a gift it was to wake up in the Land of the Free. Also, he wanted to show everyone that it is never too late to take life by the horns.
Check out John Wayne’s speech on American history and opportunity. If it doesn’t give you chills and get you fired up to make the most out of every day, back it up and listen to it again. If that doesn’t work, partner, check your pulse.
John Wayne Speaks to Americans Through the Ages
Ask almost any fan of The Duke, they’ll likely tell you his wisdom is timeless. He spoke not to timely and topical issues but to the soul of this Great Nation. This is true for many things that he said. The above video is full of things that you can take to the bank today. It was just as true when he said it. And in five, ten, or even fifty years from now it will still be the truth.
For instance, take the statement with which John Wayne opens his speech: “American opportunity has no limits and has been known to knock more than once.”
John Wayne then goes on to address several groups of people. He talks to “Young people who see a tough life ahead,” but doesn’t berate them. Instead, he works to inspire the youth. He tells about the young lives of great Americans like Booker T. Washington, Neil Armstrong, and Mickey Mantle. In just a few sentences he shows how hard work and true grit can propel an ordinary person to extraordinary heights.
Then, John Wayne addresses those who are “pushing fifty and complaining that the country is going to Hell.” He then discusses how Crispus Attucks and JFK were in that age range when they made major contributions to American history. He doesn’t stop there, though. Wayne goes on to speak to those who are above retirement age and settling down. He tells them about Dwight Eisenhower, who was sixty-seven when he took the presidency.
John Wayne goes on to say that every person he has ever “known, met, seen, or heard of,” wants one thing more than anything else. That thing is tomorrow. “Tomorrow,” The Duke says, “is all any of us have going for us.”
Then, to end his speech he gives some advice. He says, “I believe this – if tomorrow, all of us, every single one of us, gets out of bed and says ‘This is my country and I’m going to do good for it,’ we’ll make the greatest step forward since a Pilgrim’s foot found Plymouth Rock.”