Back to John Wayne for a while....
If John Wayne was still alive, he would have turned 100 years old last week. He was born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907. His movie career spanned over 50 years and over 200 movies, which is a remarkable achievement. He took on roles that made him the epitome of the All-American masculine male. He talked the talk and walked the walk.
And, oh, what a walk that was! There was no mistaking it. No chance at all of seeing a man do The Walk and thinking it someone other than John Wayne.
I'll never forget watching some variety show in the early or middle 70's, when Rich Little, that peerless impressionist, came face to face for the first time with The Duke. Little had done his impression of Wayne many times on TV and in his standup routines. I think Little was in awe and a bit embarrassed meeting Wayne and was afraid of what Wayne would have to say to him about the whole thing.
They were introduced and Wayne tells him, "Little, let me see you do that walk." Well, Little did The Walk and Wayne looked at him for a second. "You do it better than I do.", Wayne remarked with a grin. The audience howled and you could see Little visibly relax. He'd passed the test.
There was a good bit of controversy about the fact that Wayne did not enlist during WWII. The reasons postulated by his fans are varied but it does seem to boil down to the fact that he saw an opportunity to advance his career, while other Hollywood males enlisted in droves. From all accounts, he later felt so much guilt about this, he vowed to spend his life trying to atone for his mistake. The overwhelming patriotism of his movies in the years after WWII appear to support this view By the time of the Korean War, he was an All American icon and many veterans say that their decision to enlist was influenced by Wayne's movies.
On his birthday in 1979, he was formally, and officially, recognized by the U.S. Congress and awarded a Congressional Gold Medal. The drive for recognition was pushed by other actors, as well as politicians, but mostly by his favorite leading lady, Maureen O'Hara. She insisted that the medal read "John Wayne, American". Sadly, Wayne passed away before the medal was struck. It was presented to his family in March of 1980.
Nothing says "America", more than a John Wayne movie. The John Ford westerns, the war movies. And since we just had Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day and have the anniversary of D-Day coming up next week, I thought it would be interesting to blog about our favorite John Wayne movies.
Hubby's is, without a doubt, The Alamo. I'm rather partial to The Quiet Man and any of his other movies co-starring the lovely Maureen O'Hara.
1) In how many movies did John Wayne's character die? Can you name them all?
2) In what four additional movies was his character's death not shown? Can you name them?
What are your favorite John Wayne movies?
What are your favorite John Wayne quotes? Either in charactor or not.
John Wayne from Wikipedia
John Wayne Birthplace.Org
Updated: 4:48 PM GMT on June 07, 2007
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Bivouac of the Dead
HEADQUARTERS GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC
General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868
i. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.
If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.
Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from hishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.
ii. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
iii. Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.
By order of
JOHN A. LOGAN,
WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.
From the American Overseas Memorial Day Association:
A Brief History of Memorial Day
Memorial Day's origins go back to the American Civil War. After four years of fighting and hundreds of thousands of dead on both sides, it was natural for friends, relatives and comrades of the fallen soldiers to pay their respects to their graves, often by placing flowers on them. This was the origin of "Decoration Day" to decorate the graves of the soldiers of both sides from the Civil War. The exact origins of this custom will never be known with certainty, for there are a number of places with good claims to be the originators of Decoration Day, which later became Memorial Day. One very likely candidate is Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, near the town of State College (home of Penn State University). In October 1864 Emma Hunter and Sophie Keller went to the local cemetery to place flowers on the grave of Emma Hunter's father, Reuben Hunter, a surgeon in the Union Army. There they met Elizabeth Myers, who was placing flowers on the grave of her son, who had been killed at the Battle of Gettysburg. The three women then discussed the possibility of carrying out this activity on a much wider scale, and the idea spread throughout the town. The following year, 1865, saw large numbers of Boalsburg residents showing up at the cemetery to decorate every grave with flags and flowers.(1)
Another strong candidate for the title of originator of Memorial Day is Columbus, Missouri, where four local women began caring for the graves of soldiers in the Friendship Cemetery a year before the three Boalsburg women met. Then on 25 April 1866 the Columbus women decided to make the decoration of soldiers' graves an annual event and led a ceremony at the graveyard, during which not only Confederate graves were decorated but also the graves of 40 Union soldiers buried there. A local newspaper wrote about the ceremony, the story was picked up by the New York Herald Tribune, whose editor Horace Greeley wrote a glowing tribute to the work of the Columbus women, and the poet Francis Finch was inspired to write a very popular poem with the title "The Blue and the Gray", which appeared in the September 1867 edition of the Atlantic Monthly. The poem closed with the words:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the Judgement Day;
Under the blossoms, the blue,
Under the garlands, the gray. (2)
Shortly before the Columbus ceremony, three Civil War veterans picked wildflowers and placed them on some graves in Carbondale, Illinois. They then met with town leaders and suggested a more formal ceremony on the following Sunday, 29 April 1866. The idea was immediately approved, and on the day the town's population showed up for a parade, barbecue, speeches, prayers and the decoration of 20 graves in Woodlawn Cemetery. One of the speakers was Congressman John A Logan from the nearby town of Murphysboro. Logan had served as a general during the Civil War and was very impressed with the Carbondale ceremony. Two years later, after Logan had become the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), an association of Union veterans, he issued General Order Number 11, which stated:
The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.
That same year saw the first Decoration Day ceremony at the new Arlington National Cemetery.
Yet another candidate for the title of originator of Memorial Day is Charleston, South Carolina, where in April 1865 black residents - including many former slaves - began decorating the graves of 200 Union soldiers who had died in a prisoner of war camp there. After landscaping the graves and building a 10-foot high enclosure around the site, 10,000 people (mainly blacks plus some white abolitionists) celebrated the completion of the work on 1 May 1865. Similarly, on 12 March 1866 a Columbus, Georgia newspaper printed a letter from a local woman appealing for women to decorate soldiers' graves with flowers on 26 April, the anniversary of the surrender of General Johnston. And on 30 May 1866 the mayor and school superintendent of Richmond, Virginia, planned and carried out a program to decorate the graves of Union soldiers who had died in the nearby Confederate prison on Belle Island in the James River.
Last but certainly not least is the town officially recognized by the United States Congress as the "birthplace of Memorial Day." During the summer of 1865 in the small town of Waterloo, New York, a pharmacist named Henry C. Welles suggested that a formal, patriotic ceremony should be held to commemorate the fallen of the Civil War. Together with war hero General John B. Murray he formed a committee to plan such a ceremony, and on 5 May 1866 the town's flags were hung at half staff, and a band led a procession of veterans and townspeople to three cemeteries for the decoration of graves. The ceremony was repeated on 5 May 1867 and then in 1868 the date was changed to 30 May in compliance with General Logan's GAR declaration. In 1966 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary celebration in Waterloo, Congress passed a resolution "in recognition of the patriotic tradition set in motion 100 years ago" and officially declared Waterloo to be founding town for Memorial Day.
Bivouac of the Dead, a poem.
Theodore O'Hara, author of "Bivouac of the Dead"
Memorial Day 2007
When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again
by Patrick S. Gilmore
When Johnny comes marching home again,
We'll give him a hearty welcome then
The men will cheer and the boys will shout
The ladies they will all turn out
And we'll all feel gay,
When Johnny comes marching home.
The old church bell will peal with joy
To welcome home our darling boy
The village lads and lassies say
With roses they will strew the way,
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.
Get ready for the Jubilee,
We'll give the hero three times three,
The laurel wreath is ready now
To place upon his loyal brow
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.
In memory of my maternal great uncle, Millege A. Gordon, and all others that have fallen in the service of our country.
Milledge A. Gordon
Sergeant, U.S. Army
118th Infantry Regiment, 30th Division
Entered the Service from: South Carolina
Died: October 17, 1918
Buried at: Plot D Row 11 Grave 12
Somme American Cemetery
Awards: Distinguished Service Cross
In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Lt. Col. John McCrae, MD
Please feel free to post Memorial Day themed images, poems, songs or your thoughts about the men and women who have sacrificed their lives in the service of our country.
Petition to Restore the Traditional Day of Observance for Memorial Day. Read the comments of those who have already signed!
Updated: 12:22 PM GMT on May 24, 2007
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