Patriots Point Development Authority (PPDA) and the USS Yorktown (CV-10) Association will welcome two-time Academy Award Nominee, Emmy Winner and Golden Globe Winner, Ann-Margret aboard the USS Yorktown for “An Evening Honoring Ann-Margret” on March 31, 2012 – forty six years after her first visit!
In March 1966, actress and singer Ann-Margret paid her first visit to “The Fighting Lady” with Johnny Rivers as part of a USO tour. As her plane circled the USS Yorktown over the South China Sea, crew members spelled out the words “HI ANNIE” on the flight deck. In honor of that historic visit and performance, Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum and the USS Yorktown Association will recognize Ann-Margret for her tireless support of the military over the past forty six years. The evening will feature a captivating interview of Ann-Margret by local news veteran Bill Sharpe, Vietnam-era music by up-and-coming band “The Explorers Club” and a silent auction to benefit the Patriots Point Institute of History and Science.
“Ann-Margret holds a special place in the history of the USS Yorktown and in the hearts of Sailors who served as members of her crew,” said PPDA Executive Director Mac Burdette. “We are honored to welcome her back to our ship for this grand reunion and know it will be a night to remember. For those of us who were in the service during the Vietnam War, it will be a very special evening, especially with the great music from the era filling the Hangar Bay. We honor Ann-Margret, but we also honor the veterans from this very long and difficult war. These veterans have been greatly under-appreciated by our nation.”
“I can never put into words what it was like looking out from a makeshift stage and seeing so many faces,” Ann-Margret said. “I remember the applause and the laughter and then we would go home. But those men would have to face another day. Each of them holds a very special place in my heart. All of them represent the America I love and cherish. I look forward to joining ‘my gentlemen’ once again aboard the USS Yorktown for this memorable evening.”
It will be a special night for everyone, but particularly for the Vietnam War veterans, who have great memories of USO performances by Ann-Margret, Bob Hope, Johnny Rivers, and so many others stars who were willing to risk their lives for our service members.
“I remember that we had been to sea for weeks, growing fatigue and low spirits inflicted most of the crewmembers. The crew went about their jobs; shoulders stooped walking the passageways with a slower gait than normal,” said former crewmember Gary Anderson. “Ann-Margaret and Johnny Rivers’ arrival and performances in the Hangar Bay was the biggest and best jolt of adrenaline the crew could have received… For days afterwards the crew had a renewed spirit and energy as they went about their jobs… For me, their performance meant far more than two entertainers doing a show, this was a refreshing link back to familiar times; a sign that people at home did care. It was this particular event that really brought home to me the incredible value of USO shows touring the war areas.
Admission for “An Evening Honoring Ann-Margret” is $45 and includes entertainment, hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. Learn more about this event and purchase your ticket today by visiting www.patriotspoint.org.