The Southern man wanted to meet the President of the United States. He was a celebrity in the entertainment business-loved by countless many. He had wealth and all the trappings that came with being famous. He was handsome and young. He needed nothing, really. But on that particular day he wanted to see the President. He had “urgent” business to attend to. He carried weapons. And he had written on paper his thoughts in his own handwriting. He arrived to see the President in Washington D.C. unannounced. He dealt with at least one other person before he got to the Chief Executive. Then he fulfilled his intended “mission.”
“Ah,” you say- “that’s the story of John Wilkes Booth.” Mr. Booth, a man of Southern sympathies, who wrote out on paper in his handwriting concerning his thoughts-a man who brought weapons (a derringer and a knife) to see the President -a man who was a celebrity in his day-famous-wealthy- and “in need of nothing.” A man who had to deal with Mr. Forbes before entering the box where Lincoln was watching the theater play. A man who was young and handsome. A man who ventured to see the President in Washington D.C.- yes that describes John Wilkes Booth. He had “urgent” business with the U.S. President.
But that is NOT who the first paragraph necessarily describes. It also describes Elvis Presley. Yes, Elvis the King. In 1973, he, without the knowledge of anyone, boarded a commercial airline in Memphis bound for the nation’s capitol. Presley wanted to meet with President Richard Nixon. He wanted to discuss the influence of the counterculture on society. He wanted to talk about illicit drugs. He wanted to offer his services to help the President. While on the jet he wrote out a letter to Nixon, outlining his concerns and ideas. Upon arrival to the White House, he made his request to several of Nixon’s staff members. And yes, he met with President Nixon. He gave the President a gift of pistols. The occasion was partially commemorated in several photographs that were taken of the historic meeting, including:
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