Washington (CNN) - Some knew Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, others just wanted an outlet for emotions they felt in the wake of the Arizona shooting rampage. In all, more than 50 marchers gathered on Capitol Hill Saturday night to honor the victims.
The group braved sub-freezing temperatures and gusty winds, marching to the Capitol and up the west steps to hold the vigil.
The winds made it difficult to keep the candles lit. But the crowd, some with tears in their eyes and others hugging, held a moment of silence and briefly talked of the shootings.
"I hope today will be the last day there will be any kind of violence against elected officials in this country," one woman said as the crowd formed a circle with the Capitol's dome in the background.
One marcher taking part was student Jonathna Pitel, who knew Giffords from his days living in Tuscon.
"It's been a day for reflection," he said. "A day for gathering with other friends from Arizona trying to make sure everyone we know is OK, and praying for the people who have been shot.
Pitel said of the turnout for the quickly-arranged event, "it's important to be feel solidarity with people".
He noted that "skepticism about people is natural" after an incident like this, "so it's wonderful to be with people, no matter what their connection is because they feel that grief."