My earliest heroes were the silver screen cowboys – John Wayne, Gene Autry, Jimmy Stewart, Lash LaRue, Johnny Mack Brown, Roy Rogers.

If they rode a horse, beat up the bad guys, and saved the ladies, they were my heroes. We didn’t know much about their personal lives and opinions on social/political issues because they never expressed them publicly, but deep down, we knew that they would stand for what was right, decent, and honorable. After all, they were cowboys.

That’s what I always wanted to be when I grew up, still do. I can’t help but believe that if they were around today, they would be on the side of truth, justice, and the American way. Let’s see if you will connect with these few lines.

If John Wayne were alive today,

I wonder what the Duke would say

About the way things are today

In the good old US of A.

I don’t think he’d approve of kneeling

When the national song was played,

Especially since underneath that banner,

Ultimate sacrifice had been made.

I wonder if he’d chuckle at the tattoos

And the piercings that young people do.

Or would he simply scoff and say,

“Those will be hard to undo.”

If he happened to see a movie,

Or watch a sitcom on TV,

Would he shake his head and then opine,

“You think that’s wholesome? I disagree.”

Would he be proud of his acting colleagues

And their political views?

I can see him roll his eyes and say,

“They sound like cockatoos.”

I know the Duke loved America,

Just like you and me,

‘Cause we know what she’s always stood for—

The home of the brave and the free.

Yes, Duke, things are different

From what it was in your day.

And I, for one, would be interested

In what you have to say.

John Pryor is a C.E. Donart High School graduate. He can be reached at p29jpryor@

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