A woman holds up a sign during a rally in Hartford, Conn., to promote gun control legislation last February.(Photo: Spencer Platt, Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - Hundreds gathered at National Cathedral here Thursday for an afternoon vigil honoring victims of gun violence.
Newtown Foundation's National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence
came two days ahead of the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook
Elementary School shootings, which killed 20 Newtown, Conn., students
and six school staffers.
After church bells rang for three minutes
to honor the 30,000 people killed by gun the past year, a series of
multi-faith leaders prayed for an end to the violence.
"We gather to say 'No more,'" said Rev. Mel Kawakami of the Newtown United Methodist Church.
must not allow these kinds of massacres...to take place," said Dr.
Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education.
"Only then can we call this nation a perfect union."
Among those attending were Neil Heslin, whose son, Jesse, was among Sandy Hook victims.
found peace here when I came for Easter, and hopefully I can find that
peace again today,'' said Heslin, who spent time over the past year
lobbying Connecticut politicians and Congress to tighten gun
Thursday, however, was more about finding solace. "I'm not hear for any political reason,'' Heslin said. "I'm just here to honor Jesse."
the cathedral, TV monitors displayed a constant loop of gun violence
victims. Outside, a group of women wore sashes made from yellow and black tape,similar to police tape, that read "Stop Gun Violence."
Healy King said the Newtown massacre was a "tipping point" for her and
her friends to start the group and raise awareness of the gun violence
that has continued after Newtown.
They wrapped trees in their Chevy Chase, Md., neighborhood with the tape and hope it mobilizes support for stiffer gun laws.
are numb (to gun violence)," said King, 68. "I hope there will be a
huge explosion of people standing up and trying to make a difference."
The event was sponsored by the Newtown Foundation and the National Cathedral.
vigil is an opportunity to deflect the attention that will be on
Newtown and will serve to draw attention to the bigger issue of more
than 30,000 people dying of gun violence every year in our country,''
Newtown Foundation chairman Dave Ackert told the Newtown Bee.