11/28/2012 02:59 pm ET Updated Nov 29, 2012

Harvey Milk, George Moscone Remembered At San Francisco Memorial, 34 Years After Assassinations


November 27 is a sensitive day for San Francisco.

Anyone who lived in this city in 1978 remembers that morning, four days after Thanksgiving, when Supervisor Dan White walked through City Hall with a revolver and shot and killed Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk, the city's first openly gay supervisor.

So on Tuesday, 34 years after the tragic incident, city officials, the Milk and Moscone families, LGBT supporters and much of the San Francisco community gathered on the steps of City Hall in memory.

"Let's get this straight: George and Harvey did not die heroically. It was a senseless act," said Jonathan Moscone, George's youngest son, according to SF Appeal. Jonathan was a 14-year-old freshman at St. Ignatius High School when his father was killed.

White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter instead of murder, a decision that led to the violent White Night riots at City Hall. The conviction was widely viewed as too lenient, and made famous the "Twinkie defense" that helped White in court.

"Don't think I didn't smile when I heard Hostess was going under," Jonathan said to the crowd on Tuesday.

Jonathan called on crowd members to live their lives like Milk and his father, both considered champions for equality and civil rights.

"We're all agents of change like George and Harvey were," he said. All of us have a voice."

Other speakers expressed the same sentiment.

"Harvey Milk was a visionary whose life and death had a profound effect on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community," said Anne Kronenberg, Milk's former aide, per SF Weekly. "He is remembered for his passion and his perseverance in his quest for equality for all people."

Mayor Lee, former Mayor Willie Brown and State Assemblman Tom Ammiano also spoke at the event.

"You might take away the messengers, but you're not going to take away the message," said Ammiano, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

After the memorial, the crowd began its annual march to the Castro District to meet at Milk's old camera store.

See more about the life of Harvey Milk in the slideshow and video below.

Harvey Milk Day