Tucson Shooting Memorial: City Unites to Honor Victims

VIDEO: Gabrielle Giffords, Jared Loughner, Christina Taylor Green, Arizona Shooting, Kids, Children and violence, Children and Guns, ABC News
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All day, residents of Tucson, Ariz. lined up, hours in advance of the evening's memorial service for the six people slain outside a Safeway last Saturday morning. Thousands gathered to show the world that their city is united.

According to the University of Arizona, where the memorial is being held, the number of people standing in line exceeded the capacity of the auditorium, which holds 14,000. Overflow crowds will be seated in the university's stadium where the service will be simulcast.

"It's a healing process for all of us. We're weeping because of what happened," said Linda Gross, who camped out overnight to make certain she'd be able to attend the service.

Watch "World News with Diane Sawyer" for more on this story tonight on ABC.

"One person who caused a major tragedy does not define our city," said Mae-Ling Lim, who also joined the line. "This crowd defines Tucson... we don't let anyone terrorize us."

The outpouring in Tucson has been extraordinary, with people giving blood, packing church services and building makeshift memorials at the crime scene. Similar memorials have also been created at the school where 9-year-old victim Christina Green attended class, and at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' office.

Hospital Vigil Becomes Carpet of Sympathy

Then, there's the ever-expanding vigil outside University Hospital, where the victims are being treated. It started small on Saturday after the shooting, with just a few flowers, cards and candles. But day after day, it has grown into a massive carpet of sympathy and support.

A picture of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., at a makeshift memorial in Tucson, Ariz.
Photo credit: Morry Gash/AP Photo

Parents Struggle to Explain Attack to Children

Up close, you can see the meaning of each memento, from Catholic votive candles to a note from a child written to all the victims.

"You are loved and in our thoughts," the child wrote.

At all hours, people come to the hospital vigil to reflect, to cry, and in surprising numbers, to educate their children.

Mother Kelly Mendelsohn brought her young son.

"I asked him if he had any questions. I explained why people are putting candles out. I explained that Tucsonians stand together," Mendelsohn said.

Many of the victims and their families inside the hospital are said to be aware of the shrine and grateful for it. Pam Simon, an aide of Giffords who suffered a gunshot wound on Saturday, slipped out of her hospital room to see it for herself, without her doctor's permission.

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