Fans honor Elvis Presley on the 40th Anniversary of his death
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Elvis Presley fans in a long line are making the slow, solemn walk up the driveway of Graceland to pay their respects to the late singer on the 40th anniversary of his death. Thousands of devotees of the rock ‘n’ roll icon lined up for hours to save their places in the procession Tuesday night. They held candles and walked along the graves of Presley and his relatives at the Meditation Garden at Graceland, his former home-turned-museum in Memphis, Tennessee. Priscilla Presley, the performers’ former wife, and Lisa Marie Presley, their daughter, thanked the crowd for their love and dedication. Fans from around the world come to Graceland each year on the anniversary of Presley’s death to honor his life and career. He died in Memphis on Aug. 16, 1977. For the first time in nearly four decades, fans had to pay a fee to participate in the candlelight vigil, which runs into Wednesday. Fans were able to watch the vigil from the street in front of Graceland, free of charge.
Fans who visit Graceland this week to commemorate the anniversary of his death will have to pay $28.75 to walk past his grave. Many fans are not happy. Graceland told the Associated Press in a written statement that visitors who attend the vigil beginning Tuesday night and running into Wednesday must have an Elvis Week Property Pass wristband. The $28.75 wristband also provides access to a new $45 million entertainment complex. Graceland, operated by Elvis Presley Enterprises, says it anticipates large crowds and it has updated its security measures for Elvis Week, the annual celebration of Presley’s life and career. Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977, in Memphis. Some fans are saying they won’t attend another vigil.