A new plaque recognizing Elvis Presley’s role in raising funds to build the USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor was unveiled yesterday. The unveiling took place at a private ceremony at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
In attendance at the ceremony were (pictured below, left to right): actor Jon Seda, the Global Spokesperson for the World War II Foundation, who plays Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone in HBO’s “The Pacific,” Daniel Martinez, Chief Historian of The USS Arizona and Pearl Harbor, actor Chike Okonkwo, star of NBC’s “La Brea,” Tim Gray, President of the World War II Foundation, Randy Stratton, son of USS Arizona survivor Donald Stratton, and a Hawaiian priest (Kahu).
The 12 x 18 plaque with a bronze bust of Elvis at the top was presented by the World War II Foundation and made possible by donations from the public including many Elvis fans.
The plaque reads:
“On March 25, 1961, Elvis Presley performed in a benefit concert at Pearl Harbor’s Bloch Arena to raise funds for the construction of the USS Arizona Memorial.
Elvis held his pre-concert press conference here at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Following the concert, Elvis remained at the hotel for the filming of the renowned movie, “Blue Hawaii.” The hotel was to become his place of retreat during his many visits to Hawai’i.
Dedicated on December 7, 2021 – The 80th Anniversary of the Day of Infamy – by the World War II Foundation.”
The plaque is on display next to the Hilton Hawaiian Village Tapa Tower, where the history of the hotel is shown on posters on the wall.
According to Tim Gray, President of the World War II Foundation, the Elvis plaque was chosen to be displayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village because “that is where Elvis always stayed when in Oahu. He held his press conference there prior to the concert and the hotel has preserved his suite there today. It’s called the “King Suite” and is a shrine to Elvis staying there often and his role in the Memorial effort. We know it will be seen by tens of thousands of people each year who visit the hotel and maybe that will inspire them to want to know more about Elvis’ role in the project.”
Gray’s latest documentary film, Elvis and The USS Arizona, has just aired on American Public Television stations across the U.S. The film tells the story of how Presley literally helped build the memorial that stands today.
Here is the trailer:
For more info on the film, Elvis and The USS Arizona, click here.
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9 thoughts on “New Elvis Presley plaque unveiled in Honolulu, Hawaii”
The plaque is great, but you would think that who ever had it commissioned would have done a little research, the benefit concert was on March 25th 1961, not March 21st.
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You’re right, Keith. That’s a really unfortunate mistake!
It’s already being crrected
Butvbit vcan be easily corrected
Glad Elvis is being recognized for his generosity in helping to get the Arizona Memorial completed but a plaque commemorating this should be at the Arizona Memorial. Thousands of visitors who visit The Memorial should know this information & they would if the director of the Parks & Recreation had not removed the plaque when he took over the management of The Memorial from the Navy. The current plaque appears to be more of an ad for the hotel.
Please put up a more appropriate Elvis “appreciation plaque” at the Arizonza Memorial ….. many more people visit The Memorial than the hotel. Who knows when The Memorial would have been completed if Elvis had not performed a benefit concert to raise additional funds.
You are 100% right. In fact, I was told by a tour guide in 2015 that more people ask about the plaque than about anything else. He was a bit surprised that I knew more about who gave the most. He said it was a TV program, but not a single of those thousands who contributed the US 95,000 the host of This is your life raised that night gave more than Elvis., whose contribution was US$65,000.
There is a plaque the original, but it is located in a closed room inside the Memorial. I was told by a guide tur that it is there, along with many others.
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I appreciate that there is a plaque for Elvis’s philanthropy. I do Not think that picture on the plaque looks anything like him! Such a disappointment.
I agree, especially since he doesnt look like he did when he did the concert. https://www.elvispresleymusic.com.au/pictures/img/elvis/60s/61/hawaii61.jpg