Graceland Invites Active Military, Veterans to Commemorate Anniversary of Elvis’ Military Service During Annual Military Appreciation Weekend March 23-24

Weekend highlights include patriotic family-friendly activities and
Bret Michaels live at the Graceland Soundstage. Free tickets available
to active military, veterans and Shelby County First Responders.

MEMPHIS, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–lt;a href=”” target=”_blank”gt;#bretmichaelslt;/agt;–Elvis Presley™ began his service in the United States military on March
24, 1958 when he was inducted into the U.S. Army, and to salute our
troops and commemorate the anniversary of Elvis’ military service, Graceland®
will host its annual Military
Appreciation Weekend
, March 23 – 24, 2019. This two-day celebration
will showcase Elvis’ patriotism through a variety of family-friendly
events and activities including, photo opportunities with Elvis’
Presidential Medal of Freedom, daily presentation and retiring of the
flag and a care package collection center for active and deployed
military. The weekend will be highlighted by a Graceland Live concert
featuring Bret
performing live at the Graceland Soundstage.

“Coming from a military family, supporting the men and woman who serve
and protect our freedom holds an important place in my heart,” Bret
Michaels said. “I couldn’t think of a better way to give back and say
‘thank you’ than kicking off Graceland’s Military Appreciation Weekend
and celebrating the 61st anniversary of Elvis entering the

Michaels, the legendary Poison front man and multi-platinum singer and
songwriter, has sold over 40 million albums worldwide and has been in
the spotlight for decades. He continues to use his superstar status to
entertain fans and support notable causes, such as our nation’s military.

“Throughout his career, Bret Michaels has always been a huge supporter
of the men and women serving in the military,” said Debbie Miller,
Graceland’s chief marketing officer. “From his work with the Wounded
Warrior Project and USO to honoring active military members and veterans
during his shows, we couldn’t think of a better person than Bret to help
us salute our nation’s troops and commemorate the anniversary of Elvis
in the military.”

Graceland will provide free entry tickets to the Elvis
Presley’s Memphis
™ entertainment and exhibit complex to Active Duty,
Retired Armed Services, and Shelby County First-Responders during
Military Appreciation Weekend, along with discounted tickets for family
and friends.

Complimentary tickets* will also be available to all active members of
the U.S. Military, veterans, and Shelby County First Responders for the
March 23rd Bret Michaels Graceland Live performance at the
Graceland Soundstage. (Note: *FEES APPLICABLE ON ALL TICKETS. Tickets
may be reserved online, but they can only be picked up at Graceland Box
Office. Valid Identification Required at time of pickup.)

Along with providing complimentary weekend passes and concert tickets to
veterans and active military members, Graceland has also partnered with Operation
to collect items and “thank you” letters for troops
throughout Military Appreciation Weekend. Operation Gratitude sends more
than 300,000 care packages and letters of support to deployed military,
military families, veterans and first responders every year. Guests
visiting Graceland are encouraged to visit the Graceland Box Office to
donate some of the most requested items by armed forces overseas such
as: all-purpose wipes, deodorant, socks, playing cards and more. A
complete of items collected by Operation Gratitude can be found on their
.” Donations will be shipped to active units overseas following
Military Appreciation Weekend.

In addition to special offers at Graceland and Elvis Presley’s Memphis,
the AAA four-diamond Guest
House at Graceland
™ resort hotel will offer a special military
appreciation discounted rate of 50% off Best Available Rate per night
to both active military, veterans and Shelby County first responders.
Guest House at Graceland accommodations at the special discounted rate
have limited availability. Reserve Guest House accommodations in advance
by calling 800-238-2000 or visiting

Tickets for Bret Michaels – Live at the Graceland Soundstage are on
sale now

$49.50 Advance | $60 Day of Show (General Admission – Standing) | Free
Tickets* for Active Military, Veterans, and Shelby County First
Responders (Limited Quantity)

Full details about Graceland’s 2019 Military Appreciation Weekend are
available online at

Full details about Graceland Live, including upcoming shows, special
promotions and early pre-sale ticket access, are available online at
and by signing up for LiveFeed,
Graceland’s exclusive newsletter.

Elvis In the Military

On March 24, 1958, Elvis was inducted into the United States Army at the
Memphis Draft Board and assigned serial number 53310761. On March 25, at
Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, he received his indoctrination exam and
traditional, military, G.I. haircut in front of 55 media photographers.
Elvis commented to the crowd, “Hair today, gone tomorrow.”

Elvis received basic training at Fort Hood, Texas. Private Presley was
assigned to the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood and received advanced
tank instruction. Elvis completed his basic training by the end of May.
He earned a marksman’s medal and was classified as a sharpshooter with a
pistol. Elvis also was named acting assistant leader of his squad. Elvis
was stationed there for six months and his parents joined him at a
temporary home near the base.

In August 1958, Gladys Presley became ill and returned to Memphis where
she was hospitalized with acute hepatitis. As her condition became more
serious, Elvis requested emergency leave. He arrived in Memphis on the
afternoon of August 12th. Gladys Presley died in the early
hours of August 14th at the age of 46. She lay in state at
Graceland and services were held at the Memphis Funeral Home on August 15th.
Elvis was devastated by his mother’s passing. They had always been very
close and giving his mother and father a better life had been one of the
most heartfelt ambitions in his professional pursuits. He returned to
his Army duties on August 25th.

Elvis left the U.S. for his eighteen-month assignment to West Germany in
September 1958. Elvis was assigned to Company C, a scout platoon
frequently on maneuvers. It was hoped that in this capacity, Private
Presley would be largely out of the public eye and able to do his duty
as an active member of the U.S. Army. His father Vernon Presley and
grandmother Minnie Mae Presley lived with him in his off-base residence
in Bad Nauheim. Company C left for maneuvers in Grafenwohr, Bavaria,
located on the Czech border on November 2, 1958. Here, Elvis endured the
same field conditions as every other soldier. Elvis achieved the rank of
private first class in November 1958, specialist fourth class in June
1959, and sergeant in January 1960. He was honorably discharged on March
5, 1960.

Part of Elvis’ personal commitment was that he did not perform during
his two years in the service though he was often asked to do so. Save
for a quick recording session on his first leave from Fort Hood in June
1958 after completing basic training, he took a two-year hiatus from his
career. But his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, kept the promotional
machinery running, orchestrating continuing record releases,
merchandising and special fan communications and taking full advantage
of the intense press interest in the most famous soldier of the time,
all the while making plans with Elvis for the resumption of his career
once he returned to civilian life in March 1960. Elvis served his
country just like any other G.I., with none of the special privileges
his celebrity status might have afforded him. He was, by all accounts, a
model soldier, earning the lasting respect of his fellow soldiers and
the public at large. Elvis worried what the long time away from
performing, recording and acting might mean for his career. His fans,
however, remained steadfast, new audiences would embrace him and many of
his greatest achievements still lay ahead.

Elvis returned home to Graceland in March 1960 with great press and
public fanfare. He quickly went back to the recording studio producing
his album “Elvis Is Back!” which would hit number two on the
charts with three singles going to number one. He starred in Frank
Sinatra’s “Welcome Home, Elvis” ABC TV special. For this
appearance he was paid $125,000, a record sum at the time. Then, it was
back to the movie studio to resume his film career with the musical
romantic comedy “G.I. Blues,” which took advantage of the
attention on Elvis’ real-life army service and became a smash hit.

About Operation Gratitude

Demonstrating that actions speak louder than words, Operation
a 501(c)(3) organization, provides tangible ways to forge
strong bonds between Americans and their Military and First Responder
heroes through volunteer service projects, acts of gratitude, and
meaningful engagements in communities nationwide. Through its customized
Care Package programs, Operation Gratitude has provided opportunities
for countless Americans to say “Thank You” to more than 2.2 million of
our nation’s Heroes since 2003. In 2019, Operation Gratitude launched
its Make Every Minute Count Campaign with the goal of delivering 525,600
Care Packages – one every minute of the year – to Service Members, their
families at home, Veterans, and First Responders. Awarded a 4-Star
rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum rating from Guidestar, 94
percent of Operation Gratitude’s expenditures go directly to programs
that support our nation’s men and women in uniform at home and abroad.
To learn more, visit

About Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises,

Elvis Presley’s Graceland, in Memphis, is music’s most important and
beloved landmark, with hundreds of thousands of fans from around the
world visiting the historic home each year. Elvis Presley Enterprises,
Inc. (EPE) manages the operations of Graceland and its related
properties, including Elvis Presley’s Memphis, Graceland’s new
entertainment and exhibition complex over 200,000 square feet in size;
the AAA Four Diamond Guest House at Graceland 450-room resort hotel; and
the Graceland Archives, featuring thousands of artifacts from Elvis’
home and career. EPE also produces and licenses Elvis-themed live
events, tours, and attractions worldwide. Graceland Holdings LLC, led by
managing partner Joel Weinshanker, is the majority owner of EPE.
Graceland is the only attraction worldwide to ever receive five USA
Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards: in 2018, it was voted “Best
Tennessee Attraction” and Best Holiday Historic Home Tour, in 2015 voted
the world’s “Best Musical Attraction” and “Best Historic Southern
Attraction,” and in 2013 voted the #1 “Iconic American Attraction.” In
2018 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards named Graceland one of the top
25 landmarks in the world and Rolling Stone named it one of 10 Great
American Music Landmarks. For more information on EPE and Graceland,

Stay connected to Elvis Presley’s Graceland:
Graceland Live:
on Twitter and Instagram
Elvis Radio, Channel 19:


Christian Ross

David Beckwith

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