12-10-2017  8:33 pm      •     
MLK Breakfast
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NEWS BRIEFS

Q&A with Facebook's Global Director of Diversity Maxine Williams

A conversation on diversity and the tech industry ...

City Announces Laura John as Tribal Liason

Laura John brings an extensive background in tribal advocacy and community engagement to the city of Portland ...

Humboldt Sewer Repair Project Update: Dec. 4

Environmental Services continues to repair more than 3 miles of public sewer pipes ...

'Santaland' on Display at Oregon Historical Society

New exhibit features Santa’s throne, Rudolph, and elves from original Meier and Frank’s Santaland ...

GFO Hosts Personal Papers & Archiving Talk

First Mondays and free GenTalks at the GFO research library ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Payday Lenders Continue Attack on Consumer Protections

Charlene Crowell of the Center for Responsible Lending writes that two bills that favor predatory lenders has received bipartisan...

Hundreds Rallied for Meek Mill, but What About the Rest?

Lynette Monroe, a guest columnist for the NNPA Newswire, talks about Meek Mill, the shady judge that locked him up and mass...

Top 10 Holiday Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pet

Dr. Jasmine Streeter explains why pampering pets with holiday treats can be dangerous (and pricey) ...

Why We Need More Black Men in Early Childhood Education

Royston Maxwell Lyttle discusses the importance of Black male teachers in early childhood education for the NNPA ESSA Media Campaign ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Adrian Sainz Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Silent mourners with heads bowed and yellow-orange candlelight leading the way paid their respects to Elvis Presley at his grave at Graceland, his longtime Memphis home, to remember the 34th anniversary of his sudden death.

Thousands of Elvis devotees, candles in hand, walked in the humid night to the graves of Elvis and his relatives, some wiping away tears as they filed past. Flower arrangements and heart-shaped wreaths decorated the burial site as "If I Can Dream" and other songs played softly in the background.

The vigil was to extend past midnight and into Tuesday morning, marking the anniversary of the King's death on Aug. 16, 1977. The vigil is the main draw of "Elvis Week," and some waited hours outside the stately mansion for the procession to start.

Paula Penna came with her family from Campinas, Brazil, for her sixth vigil. Penna, who met her Brazilian husband in an Elvis fan club, cried and hugged him, her sister and aunt after paying her respects.

She said Elvis songs have helped her family though good and bad. All four have Elvis tattoos.

"Elvis music keeps the family together," said Penna, who also was born on Aug. 16 and will celebrate her 27th birthday Tuesday. "I promised to come every year to pay tribute to Elvis because he is very important to the family life."

Fans like 60-year-old Joe Makowski - who claims he saw Elvis in concert 81 times - and his girlfriend, Pamela Hembree, were among the first in line and waited for hours along Graceland's outer brick wall. A New Jersey native who owns four of Elvis' concert-worn scarves and has attended several vigils, he said it was time to introduce Hembree to the Elvis Week experience honoring the life and career of the rock `n' roll star.

"I get to meet new fans and meet new people, so that's why I line up here early in the day," said Makowski, who went to Las Vegas twice a year between 1971 and 1976 to see Elvis perform. "The biggest thing I get out of it is seeing the young fans that weren't even born until years after he passed away."

Makowski said he admires Elvis because of his singing and performing prowess, of course, but also for what he called the singer's overall coolness.

"He helped me break out of my shell because I was kind of a shy kid," said Makowski, an actor who now lives in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Visitors came from Japan, England, Germany and other countries. Some wore full Elvis outfits, others just his trademark sunglasses or sideburns.

Patrick Lucas sported sideburns and pompadour going as he walked to the vigil with the rest of the Elvis Presley Fans of Alabama, a club he joined on the Internet. Hunter, 22, came from Ehlange-Mess, Luxembourg, for the vigil.

"I try to be like him, in the ways that he was nice to people and how he treated people," Lucas said. "He was a giving person."

Temperatures were in the high 80s much of the day, sharply down from the suffocating 100-degree heat that greeted Elvis fans last August. About 15,000 to 20,000 people attended, according to estimates by police and an Elvis Presley Enterprises spokesman - nothing near the 75,000-strong crowd that's expected to flock to Graceland in 2012 for the 35th anniversary of the singer's death.

The annual vigil began when some Elvis fans traveled to Graceland the year their idol died. It grew into an organized event in 1982.

This year, fans have something else to commemorate. It was 55 years ago - 1956 - when the first two Elvis albums were released. That year alone, Elvis sold 10 million singles and 800,000 LPs.

Glenys Sites said she still remembers watching Elvis perform "Love Me Tender" for the first time.

"He's got everything - stage presence, charisma; he was sexy, great voice," Sites said. "There's never been anybody like him. I don't think he'll ever die."

Many still remember where they were when they found out the singer was dead.

Debbie Moller says she was seated on her couch when her sister called that August day in 1977 at the mansion. She didn't believe her sister at first, so she turned on the radio.

"I was bawling non-stop," said Moller, who makes Elvis T-shirts and is now attending her 15th vigil.

Like many who make the walk up the hill and see the Elvis gravesite and those of his parents, Moller expected to get emotional.

"I cry," said Moller, of Colorado Springs, Colo. "The songs they play make you think back to what you were doing they day he died."

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

 

Carpentry Professionals
Calendar

MLK breakfast 2018 300x100

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

Family Care Health