Strangers, friends and family gathered at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Bankers Hill on Friday evening to honor the 20 first-graders and six staff members killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School six years ago.
A bell rang 26 times during the ceremony, a ring for each person who lost their life Dec. 14, 2012.
Victoria Koenitzer shared her experience living through a mass shooting at the service. She was a student at UC Santa Barbara in 2014 when the Isla Vista shooting happened.
"Tidbits of my own experience linger and they just become more prominent when another shooting happens," Koenitzer told NBC 7.
Two of Koenitzer's friends were killed. She wants people to know what it was like that horrific day and every day after.
“I hope there's someone out there, even just one person in the audience who hears one thing that I said and it might stick with them," she said.
For Kasey Zahner, remembering Sandy Hook takes her back to hearing about the shooting.
"The idea that first graders would be murdered in their classrooms was unimaginable," she said.
Her group, San Diego Moms Against Gun Violence, started as a response to Sandy Hook.
"Seeing the images of these children for me as a mother, I have a 6-year-old and an 18-month-old, imagining sending my daughter off to school one day and not return,” Zahner said. “Schools should be a safe place. Church should be a safe place. Movie theatres should be a safe place."
In addition to remembering the Sandy Hook shooting victims, the vigil was also a call to end gun violence in the U.S.