More than 3,000 gather at San Bernardino memorial
SAN BERNARDINO–More than 3,000 people gathered at a memorial ceremony for San Bernardino County employees to mourn the 14 people killed in last month’s terror attack.
Speakers at the service Monday at an indoor arena in Ontario, California, expressed condolences to the family and friends of those killed in the December 2 massacre and gratitude to first responders.
Those gathered heard consolation and inspiration from speakers that included former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and evangelical pastor Rick Warren. Both pulled from their own experiences dealing with loss — Warren’s following the death of his son and Giuliani from his time at the helm of the city during the Sept 11, 2001 terror attacks — and urged the audience to make something good come from this tragedy.
Giuliani says the rampage in San Bernardino could have happened anywhere in the United States and that communities need to stand by and support each other as no one knows where might be next.
Meanwhile, the leader of the social service center said earlier Monday she expected all of her staff to be back on the job as the facility reopened for the first time.
Inland Regional Center Executive Director Lavinia Johnson says that while some of the 600 workers will have anxiety, most are “excited” to be back together at work Monday.
Guards checked IDs as employees filed back into the offices, many for the first time since the Dec. 2 terror attack.
Johnson said she planned to greet employees and ensure that they feel safe. Counselors are available, and no visitors are planned this week.
The conference center where the two attackers opened fire on a holiday luncheon is still closed.
The facility east of Los Angeles serves 31,000 disabled clients.
Melvin Anderson, who helps shuttle disabled clients for the Inland Regional Center, said on Monday he was nervous about returning to the building to turn in paperwork, and was apprehensive to approach with news reporters and a police officer outside.
Anderson, who travels to the San Bernardino center monthly to handle paperwork, says the last time he was there was the day before two attackers killed 14 people. He says he cried when he heard.
Anderson says community members aren’t used to this kind of violence and should unite to move forward as best they can.