Elvis Week 45

Priscilla Presley welcomes fans to annual candlelight vigil

The candlelight vigil began as a pilgrimage for Elvis fans 44 years ago. On the one-year anniversary of Elvis’ passing, mourners showed up at the gates of Graceland to pay their respects at the family gravesite.

They’ve been coming every year since — by the thousands. The gates are opened at 8:3o in the evening and do not close until the last person leaves. Because of the outpouring of love and respect, Priscilla Presley decided to open the mansion to the public in 1982.

Graceland has welcomed over 20 million visitors

Priscilla asked everyone to join her in wishing Elvis a Happy Birthday (in Heaven). Thousands of mourners then lit their candles at the eternal flame as the solemn procession filed past the Meditation Garden.

August 16, 2022 marks the 45th anniversary of Elvis’ passing. Elvis Week, the annual commemoration, is currently underway at Graceland (August 9-17).

This year’s events included a video concert — with Elvis on the big screen, backed by a live onstage band — Elvis Movie Night, and the traditional Candlelight Vigil.

Priscilla’s closing remarks were capped off by one of her two favorite Elvis songs — If I Can Dream.

The second song — American Trilogy — has since fallen out of favor in our new “woke” society which sees everyone and everything as racist. The arrangement is a medley of three Civil War era songs:

  • Dixie — a confederate folk song
  • All My Trials — an African-American revival song
  • The Battle Hymn of the Republic — the marching hymn of the Union army

Dixie is one of the many cultural symbols of the Old South that have been canceled. However, American Trilogy broke the color barrier and was well-received as a message of reconciliation between black and white, north and south.

Priscilla said that the two songs — If I Can Dream and American Trilogy — spoke of Elvis’ undying hope for peace and brotherhood. The songs became the showstopping finale at Elvis’ concerts in the 1970’s.

Sammy Davis Jr. said that many African-Americans considered Elvis to be a black man. “No,” he said, “Elvis is down-home, and he is my friend.” After Elvis passed away, James Brown — the King of Soul — sat weeping in the living room at Graceland. Priscilla recalled that Brown told her, “Elvis was my friend and my brother.”

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