I recently saw a remake of John Wayne's "True Grit" and rekindled my love for the man.
Here is a brilliant poem he wrote:
"The Hyphen, Webster's Dictionary defines,
Is a symbol used to divide a compound word or a single word.
So it seems to me that when a man calls himself
An "Afro-American," a "Mexican-American," "Italian-American,"
An "Irish-American," "Jewish-American,"
What he's sayin' is, "I'm a divided American."
Well, we all came from other places,
Different creeds and different races,
To form a nation...to become as one.
Yet look at the harm a line has done--
A simple little line, and yet
As divisive as a line can get.
A crooked cross the Nazis flew,
And the Russian hammer and sickle too--
Time bombs in the lives of Man;
But none of these could ever fan
The flames of hatred faster than
The Russian hammer built a wall
That locks men's hearts from freedom's call.
A crooked cross flew overhead
Above twenty million tragic dead--
Among them men from this great nation,
Who died for freedom's preservation.
A hyphen is a line that's small;
It can be a bridge or be a wall.
A bridge can save you lots of time;
A wall you always have to climb.
The road to liberty lies true.
The Hyphen's use is up to you.
Used as a bridge, it can span
All the differences of Man.
Being free in mind and soul
Should be our most important goal.
If you use The Hyphen as a wall,
You'll make your life mean...and small.
An American is a special breed,
Whose people came to her in need.
They came to her that they might find
A world where they'd have peace of mind,
Where men are equal...and something more--
Stand taller than they stood before.
So you be wise in your decision,
And that little line won't cause division.
Let's join hands with one another...
For in this land, each man's your brother.
United we stand...divided we fall.
We're Americans...and that says it all."