Elvis Fans Celebrate The King

On the eve of the 34th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, thousands still gathered at Graceland to pay homage to the King.

The first person in line was waiting since 2:30 Monday morning
 It was Bill Rowe's 20th time being in the first spot.

Rowe said he was there because of the way he grew up, with Elvis always in the background.

"I had a mixed childhood. Sometimes I had friends, at other times I didn't. When I really didn't think I had any friends, there was Elvis," Rowe said.

Thousands more joined Rowe Monday night, lighting candles up to the mansion.

They all had stories for why they just had to be there.

For Ann McClain from Horn Lake, this is a continuation of her years following Elvis around Memphis.

"As a kid I drove my folks nuts on which Elvis t-shirt to wear every day. Then when I go 'which button', my dad said, 'just put them all on.' So I've been collecting them since 1964...and I put patches on the back because it got painful when I sat down."

Ann McClain used to follow Elvis like a full-time job and shows people the picture she took with him at a gas station down the street. She's been to every vigil since his death.

John Wahlag brought his family from Illinois.

They've converted an old beanie baby shelf into an Elvis shrine. It was their first time dressing up, but others have had some more practice.

Rune Thorso from Norway said he bought his outfit from Lansky Brothers in Memphis.

Pat Roberts from Oxford, England, made a '50s-style dress from fabric with Elvis's face on it. She's made a second set of outfits for when she and her husband renew their vows at the Graceland chapel this week for their 25th anniversary.

"So excited. Overwhelmed at being here. It's just wonderful. My eyes are watering, but I think it's the sun," she said.

Emotions catch people off guard when they think of Elvis and how he's made their lives just a little brighter, whether they were admiring from the other side of the world, following him in Memphis, or not even born yet.

Many were pleased to see so many younger fans continue to come each year, preserving the legacy of Elvis Presley.

"[He was] a great entertainer and really made  everybody feel like they're a part of it," Wahlag said.

Lisa Marie Presley sent a message to the fans on Monday, thanking them for being there and saying she and her mother would join them in Memphis the following year, on the 35th anniversary of Elvis's death.

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Anika Devi received her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University in 2012. She began freelancing for Business Solutions BD in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor.
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