I enjoy living in America, especially because of the freedoms we have in residing here. If you’ve ever been to my office you’ve probably seen this – [Joe motions to a life-size cutout of John Wayne].
I’m a big fan of John Wayne. He’s an iron-jawed icon of American manhood. He was someone who transcended his time to become a legend and a symbol of freedom. He wasn’t perfect, since he was the rugged individualist who rarely apologized because it might be interpreted as a sign of weakness. But to most of the world, John Wayne was the embodiment of America. By the time the 1970s rolled around, Duke felt that the nation around him was changing. Many of the things that he thought made America great were being forgotten. So he went into the studio and recorded this album.
It has a simple title – America: Why I Love Her. When you listen to it now, it can come off as a little sappy. But it’s fun to hear the Duke calling it like he sees it. Here’s a line from the back of the album – “I know most of you feel the same as I do about our country. Now and then we gripe about some of her imperfections, but sometimes that’s good. Especially if it gets us working together to make things better. It seems to me we often take too much for granted, and have a tendency to forget “The Good Things About America.”
“My hope and prayer is that everyone know and love our country for what she really is and what she stands for. May we nurture her strengths and strengthen her weaknesses so that she will be the “Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave.” – John Wayne, America: Why I Love Her.
I know it can feel like there are a lot of differences that separate us today in America. But there is still a lot of good left to give, especially as we follow the lead of Jesus in our lives. That’s what John Wayne was writing about. So this Independence Day, as you see the American flag flying and the fireworks exploding in the air, I hope you’ll remember Duke’s words: “May we nurture her strengths and strengthen her weaknesses so that she will be the ‘Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave.’”