By Phil Riske | Senior Reporter/Writer
Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind
Memories, sweetened through the ages just like wine.
~ Elvis Presley
Yesterday marked 40 years since the death of music icon Elvis Presley.
When the news wire machine rang five bells, I knew something big had happened. Such was the case Aug. 16, 1977 when I was a news anchor at WQAD-TV in Moline, Ill.
“Elvis Presley found dead,” the “Flash” read.
It was the second time I had heard the five-bell alert: On Aug. 4, 1974, I was news director at KOJO Radio in Laramie, Wyo., when a shocking headline crossed the wire — “Nixon to resign.”
Elvis and the president were cleaved in time in several ways.
Both had reached the pinnacle of their careers and were world icons. Both were impaled on their own swords — Elvis on drugs, Nixon on a corrupted ego.
Before their falls, the two met.
On December 21, 1970, Presley paid a visit to Nixon in the Oval Office. The rock star initiated the visit with a six-page letter suggesting he be made a “Federal Agent-at-Large” in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Elvis brought several gifts for the president, including a Colt 45 pistol and family photos.
Elvis would be 82 today.
Nixon would be 104.
Two men who couldn’t have been more dissimilar, yet more alike.