post pays own tribute to Elvis in name
June Robertson, Special to Whitehaven Appeal August 22, 2004
McPherson, Ted Harris and D. J. Fontana pose with other
Elvis Presley Whitehaven VFW post 4935 veterans outside
last year's Elvis Tribute Week, Ted Harris, a singer/songwriter
from Georgia and a lifelong Elvis fan (he remembers watching
the '68 comeback special on television even though he was
only 3 years old), thought he would like to do something different
to honor Memphis's most famous resident.
Marine Corps and Navy veteran with 22 years of service, Harris
is proud that Elvis Presley served in the armed forces and
is impressed with the way he conducted himself during the
two years he spent in the Army, refusing all special treatment
offered to him. "He just wanted to be one of the guys, a regular
soldier and I don't think that at the time his service was
as appreciated as it should have been, nor has it really been
acknowledged since," said Harris.
Elvis passed away, I understand there was a military honor
guard standing by his coffin at the visitation but he should
have had a full veteran's funeral service, he earned it."
As Whitehaven VFW Post 4935 junior vice commander, Harris
received no opposition when he decided to pitch the idea to
the almost 300 members to rename the post the Elvis Presley
Whitehaven Memorial 4935.
result was a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 p.m. on Aug. 7 attended
by Elvis's first drummer, the legendary D.J. Fontana. Harris's
own newly formed band, The EP Express, gave a show at 3 to
continue the daylong dedication. The 10-member band of seasoned
and talented musicians includes Harris's wife, Cathy, who
is a veteran of 21 years.
hopes to bring in new and younger veterans as members, and
the public is also welcome. "Elvis Presley was a great patriot
who gave unselfishly to his country and the world," said Harris.
"This is giving him a little bit back, we are proud to do
this for him." Planned as a further tribute, Harris wants
the members of Post 4935 to present Lisa Marie Presley and
Graceland with an American flag on March 24, the anniversary
of Elvis's induction into the Army. "I think Elvis would be
pleased," Harris said.