Wednesday, December 7, 2011

This'n'That; December Seventh #2; The Arizona Memorial

Funding Of 'Arizona Memorial' Problematic
    We--of the 'baby-boomer' generation--are used to having "the government" fund all manner of useless crap!  That was not so in the 1950s and 1960s.  In the late '50s, the Congress authorized the building of a memorial to honor the 1,177 souls who have the USS Arizona as their gravesite, but said congress failed to fund the project.  The Pacific War Memorial Commission was tasked with raising significant sum of $500,000 to fund the project.  This was in the era when a concert-goer could get into an Elvis concert for the mighty sum of THREE WHOLE BUCKS!!!
    (Speaking of Elvis....!!)  Mr Presley--in the Hawaiian Islands to film "Blue Hawaii"--agreed to do a March 25, 1961 benefit concert.  The concert--in front of 4,000 'screamers!'--raised $54,000 for the project.

SIDEBAR:  Elvis--in his trademark gold-lame suit--performed 15 of his hits, including "Heartbreak Hotel, All Shook Up, I Got A Woman,  Don't Be Cruel;" concluding with "Hound Dog" and a running-slide across the stage on his knees!!
     The USS Arizona Memorial was dedicated the following Memorial Day: May 30, 1962.  Mr Presley's involvement with the concert was instrumental in raising both a renewed awareness and the remaining funding:"Mr Presley's role  is significant because it brought renewed interest in finishing the memorial and undoubtedly had an influence on the citizens of the United States and our government," said Daniel Martinez, historian for the National Park Service's   "World War II Valor in the Pacific Monument." 
Neat, huh?!?
Til Nex'Time....



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