For Elvis Presley, January 16, 1971 would be one of the most important days of his artistic and personal life. That day he received recognition for his life’s work, not only as an artist, but also as a person, because he had contributed to his country with his music, his talent, his generosity and his contribution to make others a little happier.

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On January 16, 1971, Elvis received  one of the Jaycees Awards. Elvis experienced an unforgettable day of events that culminated in an evening awards banquet where he, along with nine other honorees, accepted the honor of being named ”One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in the Nation, by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce. The Jaycees.” Elvis’ most beloved award of his entire career.

This national honor has been awarded every year since the late 1930s. The award recognizes young people who have made great achievements in their field of endeavor and work. It also rewards humanitarianism and community service. Scientists, artists, filmmakers, and men of greatness in all areas have been selected for this award over the years.

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Elvis was very nervous and at the same time moved and very proud to be worthy of this award. For him and all the recipients, it is an incomparable honor to be bestowed upon them.

When it was time to give his speech, Elvis was very nervous, excited, moved and deeply proud, with his voice unsure; but this award held all his dreams, all his desires, since the recognition that was made to him as a human being, was equal or greater, than the one that was made to him as an artist. So for Elvis there could be no greater recognition than this. 

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After a gala dinner, it was time for Elvis to read his speech, and he did it quoting the song, by his beloved Roy Hamilton, ”Without A Song”:

When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero of the comic book.

I saw movies, and I was the hero in the movie.

So every dream I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times. These gentlemen over there, these are the type who care, are dedicated. You realize if it’s not possible that they might be building the Kingdom, it’s not far-fetched from reality.

I learned very early in life that:

 ‘Without a song, the day would never end; without a song, a man ain’t got a friend; without a song, the road would never bend, without a song’.

So I keep singing a song. Goodnight. 

Thank you”.

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Impossible to describe Elvis’ emotion as he gave his speech and collected his most beloved award. It was so important to him, he even carried it with him when he traveled, and always proudly displayed it.

Elvis was always a dreamer, not only as a child, he always dreamed of being able to achieve through his music and his works, to contribute to make others happy. And with this award, this is how he was recognized.

Here is the link to the video of the ceremony.

Information provided by ELVIS. El Chico De Tupelo 



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