Hi friends - Don and I were extremely honored to be a part of the 'Star for Elvis Ceremony' 9/26 at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas.
We got to see the entire ceremony. Unfortunately ,right after the ceremony, we had to head to the airport and come home. Don and I got home today (Saturday 9/27) at about 4 am, had just a couple hours sleep and are totally exhausted. We desperately needed to sleep in this morning but had to get up and do a tribute show for our state senator.
Many people wrote to me and said that since they couldn't attend the ceremony, they wanted me to tell them about it. Becoz I am very tired, I am not remembering the exact order of the events or the exact wording, but you will get the general idea and I apologize if I get anything incorrect. (I tried to take notes, but the room was dark, and of course, I can't read my writing!!)
Then, my camera wasn't working properly and the gift shop didn't have the correct batteries. Geez!!! What a time for our camera to quit working!! We tried to take some pictures, not sure if any of them turned out. We bought a disposable camera, will get those developed as soon as I have time. Maybe other fans who attended will be able to send some pictures if I can't.
(Before I start, I want to mention something very important - there were many fans who felt bad becoz they wanted to contribute to this, but becoz of financial hardships, were unable to do so. Please do not feel bad as this does not make you less of an Elvis fan. Those who truly wanted to donate and could not, still show their love for Elvis in other ways, just by remembering him and listening to his music. Elvis loved all his fans! )
It was absolutely THE MOST AWESOME ELVIS EVENT to have occurred in a long, long time, especially for people like us who never had the opportunity to see Elvis in concert. This ceremony gave people the impression that they were at a live Elvis concert and so for a little bit, we were able to experience some of 'The Magic of Elvis'.
The people who organized this campaign and the star ceremony did not do it for recognition, fame or money, they did it for one reason only - because they are Elvis fans and truly love Elvis.
At the start of the ceremony, one of the speakers started to talk and then the lights went dim and 2001 started to play. At first, you could have heard a pin drop in the room. Everyone was totally quiet and the crowd was hushed. Then, all of a sudden, the crowd started to clap and cry and whistle and yell 'Elvis'. It was absolutely phenomenal - the love for this one man filled the whole room.
After 2001 played, a video of 'That's Alright' played, and again the crowd at the Riviera went wild. I can't even describe how amazing this day was.
Special guests included Sammy Shore (the comedian who opened for Elvis). Sammy was hilarious. He told some really funny stories about his Elvis days. Then, Joe Esposito and Sonny West each gave a nice talk about their time with Elvis. Various speakers came up to the podium - the president of the Las Vegas Walk of Stars Committee, the president of the Riviera, etc.
The president of the Viva Las Vegas Club, Sue, gave a truly eloquent speech about Elvis. There was not a dry eye in the house. Sue, her club members and other committee members worked very, very hard to make this event a reality. Several times she mentioned that not only did her staff work hard, but they could never have done this without all the love and support of all the fans who contributed.
One thing that Sue wanted to mention, and this is so special - was she had a list of all the donors who contributed to the star. On Monday, when the star is installed, this special list will be placed under the stone, so that it will FOREVER be close to Elvis! What a nice idea!
It was mentioned that Elvis did so much not only for the entertainment world, but he gave so much to individuals and to various charities, and he gave anonymously, becoz he did not want recognition for things he did. (I read somewhere that Elvis said he would never become so rich, that he would forget what it was like to be poor. What an amazing person!)
The Viva club had promised that if they had extra contributions, they would make a donation to St. Jude's Ranch for Children in Boulder City. They are proud to announce that they gave $1,000 to St. Jude's Ranch!
The commissioners gave Sue a framed photograph of Elvis's star. I believe she will be taking that to Graceland, but I am not positive about that.
The ceremony closed with Elvis singing 'Can't Help Falling in Love'. It was a happy, sad, moving, awesome experience! There really aren't words to describe the event. We were very proud and honored to be a part of this special ceremony.
Much love and hard work and time and effort went into the planning of this event and no detail was spared. There was a buffet lunch, an ice sculpture of the Elvis star and the room was nicely decorated and there were nice Elvis star centerpieces.
In the program booklet, there is a picture of the star and it says:
In Tribute to Elvis Presley for his lifetime achievement and contribution to the world prominence of Las Vegas.
Then, the actual star reads:
A Legendary Performer
Dedicated on September 26, 2008
In closing, thanks to Sue, her club and everyone else who donated of their time and money to make this ceremony a special event for Elvis. You could feel his presence in the room, and you know that he would be so very, very proud.
Someone once said 'if you meet an Elvis fan, you've met a friend for life'. and that is so true - Elvis fans are truly the greatest people in the world!
Hil and Don