MEMPHIS (WATN) – Fans from around the world are in Memphis, Tennessee 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’s gates during Tuesday night’s annual candlelight vigil on the 40th anniversary of the iconic performer’s death.
They began lining up at 6 a.m. Tuesday to be the first to pass through the meditation garden to pay their respects.
“I get goosebumps just being at this spot right now, I feel Elvis’ presence right now,” Brent Kuschel said.
To Kuschel, Graceland is a spiritual home of sorts, 900 miles from his real home in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
“This is monumental. This is like touching the gates of heaven for me,” he said.
Fans came to honor the man whose impact is still being felt, shared, and appreciated four decades later.
“He’s the king of the roll, he made rock and roll. Without him, there’d be none of the other groups,” said Cheryl Skogen, of 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,” said Barbara Christ, of California.
Kuschel said the experience was sentimental.
“I just can’t describe it in words.”
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,” Christ said.
Over 30,000 candles were bought in anticipation of a potential record turnout.