Sadly today marks the 35th anniversary of John Wayne's death. Marion Robert Morrison better known the world over as "The Duke" was born May 26, 1907 and pasted away on this day back in 1979 at the age of 72 from stomach cancer.

I remember the day we lost Mr. Wayne. My mom woke me up for school that morning and told me that he'd died. I was absolutely devastated, at the age of eight I couldn't imagine my hero dying. He was the toughest guy around in my book, not to mention the coolest. I thought he was indestructible, he couldn't die.

That morning we listened to the radio as everyone called in, me included and expressed our sorrow and memories of "The Duke." I listened and watched non-stop all the coverage of his death in the hopes that somehow it wasn't real. He will always be my hero!

I grew up watching John Wayne and my love of westerns, especially his films continues today. I have one of, if not the largest John Wayne D.V.D. collections around. From his westerns, war movies and even his short films and cereals from back in the day.

He was a true giant not only in Hollywood, but as a man and role model. The characters he brought to life on the silver screen, all the roles he played transcended from film to the man himself. John Wayne the actor was every bit as much of the characters he played. His principles, values, love of country, unwavering moral standards and toughness weren't an act. That's who he was in real life and he made it look easy because he wasn't acting.

While Mr. Wayne isn't with us anymore his spirit and legacy will live on forever. He's just as popular today as he ever was, as new generations come to know the legend that is John Wayne! You can bet I'll be spending my evening watching all my favorites. I'm sure the wife's gonna love that! If I had to pick just one it would be "The Cowboys." I've seen it hundreds of times and it's still my favorite. I remember as a kid seeing it for the first time and wishing it was me riding with the Duke! How lucky were those kids to have been on set with John Wayne.


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