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200-foot line of crosses memorializes Orlando shooting victims

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ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando shooting massacre has moved many who’ve felt compelled to lend their support to the victims, but few if any have gone as far as Chicago resident Greg Zanis has.

Zanis built a personalized cross for each of the 49 killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting early Sunday morning and drove them to Orlando, where they stand in a 200-foot line across the street from the Orlando Regional Medical Center. He worked more than 32 hours on the monuments, then drove the more than 1,100-mile distance to Orlando.

The conspicuous memorial has drawn no shortage of eyes, with each white cross adorned with a red heart, the name and age of a victim, and the victim’s photo.

“Its just overwhelming; I haven’t even seen them one time with nobody around them yet,” Zanis said.

Firefighters, police officers and medical personnel are among the many who’ve visited the crosses. Nurse Ernesto Vergne was working at the hospital next to the crosses when the massacre, which took the lives of four of his friends, took place.

“We’re all brothers and sisters, we live in the same world and it’s sad this is happening right now, but what I like about it is we are all getting together and fighting back together,” Vergne said while standing in front of the crosses.

This isn’t the first time Zanis has paid tribute to victims of a mass shooting, as he’s been building crosses like the ones in Orlando for 20 years. He plans to give them to the families of the victims once the memorial is taken down.

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