When Colin Powell Met Sergeant Elvis Presley

Getty Images
Getty Images

In 1956, a 21-year-old Elvis Presley was drafted into the United States Army. By that time, he had already recorded and released hits like "Heartbreak Hotel," "Blue Suede Shoes," and "Hound Dog," and was one of the biggest celebrities in the country. Despite being deemed eligible for Special Services, a post that would have had him merely entertain the troops, Elvis opted to serve like a regular soldier (a move that turned out to be a boon for his public image). In the words of this newsreel, "Uncle Sam doesn't play favorites":

On March 24, 1958, Elvis officially entered the U.S. Army. His two-year stint took him overseas, and he served in West Germany from October 1, 1958 until March 2, 1960 as a member of the 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 32d Armor, where he was eventually promoted to Sergeant.

It was there, near Giessen, that Colin Powell, the future Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State, was serving as a young lieutenant in the 3rd Armored Division. He met Elvis on a wooded road, and recalls running into him to the BBC: "He served his country for two years, I saw him in the field, I ran across him in the woods while he was doing what every other GI does." He remembers Elvis as being "grimy" and "weary-looking" at the time of their meeting, but still polite and disciplined, saluting Powell and shaking his hand. "He was thought of well enough by his commanders that he was promoted from private to sergeant," Powell said. "What impressed me at the time was that instead of seeking celebrity treatment, Elvis had done his two-year hitch, uncomplainingly, as an ordinary GI, even rising to the responsibility of an NCO."

In his autobiography, Powell mentions that the only time his children "perked up" when listening to his war stories was upon hearing this anecdote about meeting Elvis. "That their father had shaken the King's hand astonished my kids."

Powell of course, would stay in the military and rise to the rank of four-star general. Elvis, meanwhile, returned to "normal" civilian life in 1960. "The first thing I have to do," he said in his first post-Army interview, "is to cut some records. And then after that I have the television show with Frank Sinatra."

7 Massage Guns That Are on Sale Right Now

Jawku/Actigun
Jawku/Actigun

Outdoor exercise is a big focus leading into summer, but as you begin to really tone and strengthen your muscles, you might notice some tough knots and soreness that you just can’t kick. Enter the post-workout massage gun—these bad boys are like having a deep-tissue masseuse by your side whenever you want. If you're looking to pick one up for yourself, check out these brands while they’re on sale.

1. Actigun 2.0: Percussion Massager (Black); $128 (57 percent off)

Actigun massage gun.
Actigun

Don't assume you need a professional masseur to provide relief—this massage gun offers 20 variable speeds and can adjust the output power on its own according to pressure. Can your human massage therapist do that?

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2. JAWKU Muscle Blaster V2 Cordless Percussion Massage Gun; $260 (13 percent off)

Jawku massaging gun.
Jawku

This cordless, five-speed massager uses a design that's aimed to increase blood flow, release stored lactic acid, and relieve sore muscles through various vibrations.

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3. DEEP4s: Percussive Therapy Massage Gun for Athletes; $230 (23 percent off)

Re-Athlete massage gun.
Re-Athlete

Instant relief is an option with this massage tool, featuring five different attachments made to tackle any muscle group. You can squeeze in eight hours of massage time before you have to charge it again.

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4. Handheld Massage Gun for Deep Tissue Percussion; $75 (15 percent off)

Massage gun from Stackcommerce.
Stackcommerce

With five replaceable heads and six speed settings, this massage gun can easily adapt to the location and intensity of your soreness. And since it lasts up to three hours per charge, you won't have to worry about constantly plugging it in.

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5. The Backmate Power Massager; $120 (19 percent off)

Backmate massage gun.
Backmate

Speed is the name of the game here. The Backmate Power Massager is designed for fast, effective relief through its ergonomic design. Fast doesn’t need to mean short, either. After the instant relief, you can stimulate and distract your nervous system for lasting pain relief.

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6. ZTECH Percussion Massage Gun (Red); $80 (46 percent off)

ZTech massage gun.
ZTech

This massage gun looks a lot like a power drill, and, similarly, you can adjust its design for the perfect fit with six interchangeable heads that target different muscle areas.

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7. Aduro Sport Elite Recovery Massage Gun (Maroon); $80 (60 percent off)

Aduro massage gun.
Aduro

Tackle large muscle groups, the neck, Achilles tendon, joints, and small muscle areas with this single massage gun. Four massage heads and six intensity levels allow this tool to provide a highly customizable experience.

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This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. If you haven't received your voucher or have a question about your order, contact the Mental Floss shop here.


The Reason Princess Anne Doesn’t Shake Hands With the Public

Princess Anne's aversion to handshakes isn't personal—it's logical.
Princess Anne's aversion to handshakes isn't personal—it's logical.
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

While many people have temporarily abandoned handshakes to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there’s at least one person who hasn’t really had to break the habit: Queen Elizabeth II’s daughter, Princess Anne.

As Reader’s Digest reports, royal family members have long been discouraged from shaking hands with the public simply because it wouldn’t be realistic to bestow a handshake upon every person clamoring for one in a crowd. But the Queen herself began to break with that tradition in the 1970s, and some of her relatives have followed suit—not Princess Anne, though.

“We never shook hands. The theory was that you couldn’t shake hands with everybody, so don’t start. So I kind of stick with that, but I noticed others don’t,” Princess Anne explained in the HBO documentary Queen of the World. “It's not for me to say that it's wrong, but I think the initial concept was that it was patently absurd to start shaking hands. And it seems to be that it's become a ‘shaking hands’ exercise rather than a walkabout, if you see what I mean.”

Even if you happen to meet the Queen or another British royal who’s been known to indulge in a ‘shaking hands’ exercise in the past, it’s still considered bad manners for you to initiate it.

“If you are a member of the public meeting a member of the royal family, you should never offer your hand to shake,” Grant Harrold, etiquette expert and former royal butler, told Insider. “Wait for them to initiate the handshake.”

Your chances are better if said royal happens to be wearing gloves, which they often don before public engagements where they plan to shake a lot of hands. The practice, perhaps unsurprisingly, helps shield them from germs.

[h/t Reader’s Digest]