50,000 Elvis Fans Converge on Graceland for 40th Anniversary of His Death

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Fans from around the world are in Memphis to honor the life and legacy of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley.

As many as 50,000 people are expected to pass through Graceland during Tuesday night’s annual candlelight vigil on the 40th anniversary of the iconic performer’s death.

Elvis Presley fans began lining up at 6:00 a.m. Tuesday morning to be the first to pass through the meditation garden, to pay their respects, and show their respect for a man whose impact is still being felt, shared, and appreciated four decades later.

This image released by the United States Postal Service shows the new Elvis Presley forever stamp available August 12. The USPS is also releasing an Elvis Presley greatest hits CD “Forever Elvis” to go along with the new commemorative stamp. (USPS via AP)

“I get goosebumps just being at this spot right now, I feel Elvis’ presence right now,” says Brent Kuschel from Minnesota.

To Kuschel, Graceland is a spiritual home of sorts; 900 miles from his real home in Saint Cloud, Minnesota.

“This is monumental, this like touching the gates of heaven for me,” says Kuschel.

“He’s the King of the roll, he made rock and roll, without him there’d be none of the other groups,” says Cheryl Skogen from California.

Whether they are young or old, from California or Chile, this day in Memphis is another reminder of how Elvis fans are their own unique, collective community.

“It’s just we are all together, everyone likes something about him, yet we are all together, we are all the same,” says Barbara Christ from California.

“I just can’t describe it in words, it’s just so sentimental,” says Kuschel.

And as thousands light candles and walk past Graceland’s meditation garden Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, they’ll think of Elvis Presley, and how his music still means so much to so many.

“For me, it’s more of a thankfulness, because he’s given me such joy with his music, such joy and I just want to say thank you, this is my way of saying thank you to him,” says Christ.

As is tradition, a section of Elvis Presley Boulevard in front of Graceland will be closed at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday ahead of the candlelight vigil procession up the driveway, which begins at 8:30 p.m.

More than 30,000 candles were bought in anticipation of a potential record turnout on the 40th anniversary of Presley’s death.

 

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