In Phoenix, about 250 people stood mostly in silence, holding candles at the state Capitol. Standing in front of the main building, leaders of local religious groups said prayers into a microphone. The somber-looking crowd scarcely uttered a word. Mothers held their children close, while some people embraced in long, tearful hugs.
“Exercising leadership – that’s exactly what Gabby was doing today,” former U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell told the crowd. “Despite multiple threats to her, her staff, she displayed genuine courage and never sought refuge, and she did exactly what she said she’d always do.”
Henry Wade, 56, said he had plans to spend quality time with his son before he saw him off to college the next day. When he found out about the vigil, he decided to go and take his son along.
“I’m glad that we were able to come and represent our feelings toward Congresswoman Giffords,” said Wade, who lives in Maricopa. “It’s just senseless that people can’t sit down and have dialogue with one another if you have a difference of opinion.”
Cyndi Whitmore, 36, of south Phoenix, was tearful, particularly about the death of a 9-year-old girl in the attack.
“I have 8- and 11-year-old daughters,” she said.
“We’re here to stand on the side of love, show our support for the families of the victims of today’s shootings, and show solidarity for non-violent, peaceful discourse.”
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