Every year in Memphis on the night of August 15th, there is a phenomenon that is known as the Candlelight Vigil. Thousands of people from all over the world gather at Graceland paying their respects to the memory of Elvis Presley. They close Elvis Presley Boulevard and everyone congregates in the street and then with candles lit make their way up to the meditation garden to Elvis’ final resting place. Last night was the 33rd anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, and the candlelight vigil was breathtaking, emotional and hot.
I arrived at Graceland just after 6pm and the heat index was 115 degrees. There were already a few people in line, but I took a seat inside the air conditioned ticket pavilion by the doors, so I could still see outside but stay cool as long as possible. I wanted to be with al the Elvis fans at Graceland, but not get up to the gravesite until after midnight August 16th, the actual date of Elvis’ death. While sitting there I met some great people and hopefully some new friends in Rhonda, Lisa and Kim.
I went over to the gates of Graceland at 8pm and got a front row spot for the opening ceremony to the Candlelight Vigil. We lit our candles at 8:30, they played ‘If I Can Dream’ and then I cried.
Emotional and dripping, I went to cool off and have some dinner at the Chrome Grille. Nothing like veggies and sweet tea to make you feel refreshed. I watched George Klein’s interview with Marion Cocke, Elvis’ nurse, and Cythina Pepper, co-star from Kissin Cousins, and then walked Elvis Presley Boulevard admiring the candlelight vigil art.
I sat with Ronda and Lisa for a bit before getting in line at 11:20pm. I only had about a half hour wait before I passed through the gates of Graceland, lit my candle from the eternal flame, and made my way up the driveway.
About an hour and half later, I made it up the driveway to the Meditation Garden and paid my respects to the greatest entertainer and most beautiful person that ever lived, Elvis Presley.
For complete pictures from the Candlelight Vigil and all of Elvis Week 2010, please visit my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=198081&id=734599167
There is no other place I’d rather be this past week then Memphis for Elvis Week. It is the one week out of the year that I don’t feel like a complete freak. Elvis Week 2010 was great, especially the screening of Elvis on Tour at the Orpheum and the Candlelight Vigil. What a sense of community and love for a man who left us way too early 33 years ago.
Please watch my videos of the Candlelight Vigil http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaxd2O66e2M and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBpxckEzzwY or http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=734599167&v=app_2392950137#!/video/video.php?v=430007809167
I am going to spend today August 16, 2010, the 33rd anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, watching his movies and concerts. We miss you Elvis!