Elvis Fans Mourn At His Grave

In this photo, courtesy The Commercial Appeal, Carolyn Russell, of Crestine Ohio, listens to an Elvis song play over the loudspeakers as she participates in the Candlelight vigil at Graceland, in Memphis, Tenn., Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2006, the 29th anniversary of Presley's death.
AP Photo/Nikki Boertman
Teddy bears, roses and love notes covered Elvis Presley's grave Wednesday, left by the thousands of fans who flocked to his former residence, Graceland, on the 29th anniversary of his death

A weeklong lineup of fan club meetings, concerts and memorials was capped with a graveside procession, called the "candlelight vigil," that began at 9 p.m. CDT Tuesday and ran through the night.

Many of the several thousand fans taking part in the vigil left small offerings at Presley's grave in a garden beside Graceland. He died at Graceland on Aug. 16, 1977.

Large floral displays sent by fans and fan clubs from around the world ringed the garden.

"We had a really good Elvis week, and President Bush sent a letter of greeting to the fans," said Graceland spokesman Todd Morgan. "It arrived a few days ago, and I read it to the crowd at the vigil."

The president and first lady Laura Bush visited Graceland in June with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, a longtime Elvis fan.

"We were reminded that Elvis Presley will forever have a special place in the cultural life of America," Mr. Bush wrote.

"This event is an opportunity for people from around the globe to come together, share memories and celebrate one of America's most beloved icons."