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Pilgrims Pay Respects at Elvis Presley’s Grave

August 16, 1996

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ Katima Khan hadn’t forgotten her fellow admirers halfway around the world as she walked past Elvis Presley’s grave with other pilgrims on the 19th anniversary of his death.

``We have a fan club at home and we will take pictures back for the others to see,″ said Khan, who came from Hong Kong.

She and five other members of the Hong Kong club were among several thousand Elvis pilgrims taking part in an annual procession past Presley’s grave Thursday night.

The march crowns a weeklong tribute to the king of rock ‘n’ roll. He died of heart disease on Aug. 16, 1977 _ 19 years ago today _ at Graceland, his Memphis residence.

Marion Littig, who traveled with friends from the Minneapolis area, wore a big laminated button on her T-shirt: ``I really miss Elvis,″ it read.

The mourners, holding candles fired from Graceland’s eternal flame, marched up a winding, quarter mile driveway to Presley’s grave in a small garden beside the estate’s swimming pool.

Many left single red roses and other small gifts at the grave.

``You kind of get the feeling that he’s still here. It’s hard to explain, but you feel him still there,″ Littig said.

Holly Geller came with her mother, Cricket, from Hollywood, Fla., for the vigil and already were making plans for returning next year, on the 20th anniversary.

``It’s out of respect and love,″ she said. ``Elvis touched everybody in the world, he really did. Nobody has touched the world the way Elvis touched the world and nobody ever will again.″

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