'Candlelight' tears for Elvis Presley
With flickering candles in hand, thousands of fans marched through the gates of Graceland to mark his 30th death anniversary.art and culture Updated: Aug 16, 2007 19:59 IST
With flickering candles in hand, tens of thousands of Elvis fans marched solemnly through the gates of Graceland to mark the 30th anniversary of the King's death today.
They came bearing roses, teddy bears and tears as a seemingly endless line of mourners snaked its way up the rolling driveway towards his poolside gravesite.
Mournful Elvis songs echoed through the grounds as the fans made their way past the white-columned mansion whose windows were light up so it looked as though the family was at home.
Handmade memorials from around the world lined the road and the memorial garden where the Presley family is buried.
There was a yellow horse from Belgium. A windmill from France. A Brazilian flag made of crushed paper.
"I come here every year because I love Elvis," said Yosuke Funabashi, as he paused in the garden after visiting the grave.
Originally from Japan, Funabashi moved to Memphis a few years ago to run an Elvis souvenir shop called "Love Me Tender" on Beale Street.
"I love his style, he's an original."
Bill Rowe lined up around midnight Tuesday and spent a day sweating in front of Graceland's graffiti-marked fence so he could be the first person through the gates.
He's been to every vigil since Elvis died and forced himself to stay awake all night because it would be "rude and disrespectful" to sleep on Elvis Presley Boulevard.