WASHINGTON, D.C., The Mall – The U.S. Army, along with the U.S.O./Washington Region, dedicated the 2nd prototype of the newest multi-million dollar weapon in our defense arsenal. Or, was it in the billions?
The Comanche RAH-66, covered by a white tent lest it get wet before its first flight!, was uncovered last night by Country Western singer Garth Brooks, a long-time John Wayne fan, while one four-star general, other two to three-star generals, the Senate Majority Leader, the House Majority Leader, the oldest living Republican Strom Thurmond, the interim Secretary of the Army, a dozen members of John Wayne’s family led by his oldest son Michael, the Honor Guard of the “President’s Own,” and maybe a hundred invited guests and reporters stood and sat under the edge of the tent and in the rain.
Michael “Morrison” Wayne, The Duke’s oldest son, accepted the dedication plaque from Senator Strom Thurmond, who arrived with help from the Senate floor, and returned therewith immediately for ongoing debate and possible vote.
Three members of the Mid-Atlantic Region of Clan Morrison Society of North America braved the rain to attend and show the support of the Clan for the members of John Wayne’s family in attendance, and to the Duke–who couldn’t make it.
As James Morrison and myself were waiting for Keith Jodoin to arrive, we were ushered over to Michael Wayne to be introduced. He had been told on Friday that we were inquiring about attending the ceremonies and his response was spontaneously supportive, we were told. As we met him, it seemed not to be an exaggeration.
Michael Wayne shook our hands, backed up to better see the Morrison Modern Red and the Morrison Ancient Green kilts being worn by James and myself. He pointed at the green and said he wished he had brought his! The Duke’s other sons, Nathan and Ethan, a beautiful daughter, Marisa, a grandson, and other relatives/fiancees, etc., were all instructed by Michael to look at their Morrison plaids.
Michael Wayne also told us that his father had never officially changed his name from Marion Michael Morrison to John Wayne. Time and usage had done it for him. He lived and died a Morrison!
Both of The Duke’s wives were there and both wanted to see the Morrison plaids. They certainly knew about their connection to the Clan, and Michael clearly has done research on his own. The family members could not have been warmer, more inviting, or more down-to-earth. Refreshing to see in the family of someone as famous as John Wayne, or that is … Marion Michael Morrison, of Iowa.
Keith Jodoin arrived with Marnie Greene, his fiancee, equiped with camera and the skills of photography. I gave Michael Wayne a Clan Morrison Society/Mid-Atlantic Region souvenir packet with all of our wonderful handouts, and calendar of events. Included in the packet is, of course, a Clan Morrison Society of North America brochure with application form, and an update insert with the newly elected officers and their addresses.
Marnie took many photos of the ceremonies, of Michael standing amongst the three Morrison kilts, and maybe of the helicopter. But certainly of Garth Brooks as he was mobbed by the crowd after the ceremonies.
Despite the rain and the logistics of yet another event where we couldn’t let the Morrison colors NOT be seen!, I must admit that I’m very glad our regional members are on the lookout for this kind of activity so that we can show our Morrison Pride.
Thanks to Charlie Morrison of Vienna, VA, for noticing the article in last week’s Washington Post, and to James Morrison of Alexandria, VA, for rattling my cage until I agreed to show up. Keith Jodoin needed no such encouragement. He and Marnie were READY!
Unfortunately it was a last-minute affair. Hopefully next time we’ll all have earlier notice and more Morrisons will be able to rally to the call of the pipes.
Stuart L. Morrison Stone, Mid-Atlantic Region Clan Morrison Society of North America