More than 3,300 crosses, Stars of David and Islamic symbols were installed on the National Mall Thursday as peace activists created a mock cemetery to honor victims of gun violence.
Organizers said the number of markers was chosen to honor the victims of gun violence who have died since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
At 11:30 a.m., religious leaders from across the country -- including some from Newtown -- began a 24-hour vigil among the grave markers, a protest aimed at lawmakers as they began to vote on a set of new gun restrictions.
“The nation’s conscience was awakened by the mass shootings of children, but every day, every day, 86 people today, eight children today will die, and all of those shootings need to awaken our conscience,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners, one of the groups that installed the symbolic gravesite.
"This isn't just a theoretical back and forth," said Timothy King, a volunteer with Sojourners. "These are real lives. Each one of these crosses represents a person who died, that had a family, that had friends, and people who are mourning them today."