San Bernardino re­calls ter­ror at­tack with si­lence, speak­ers

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Ex­actly a year to the mo­ment that a pair of shoot­ers un­leashed a ter­ror­ist at­tack on San Bernardino, a bell rang 14 times Fri­day at the city’s In­land Re­gional Cen­ter in honor of the peo­ple who died there. “We will never for­get that day or the vic­tims of this sense­less act of vi­o­lence. We strive to move for­ward and search for the good that is in us all,” said Lavinia John­son, the cen­ter’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.

Dur­ing the cer­e­mony out­side the cen­ter, em­ploy­ees of nearby busi­nesses who shel­tered peo­ple dur­ing the chaos were also thanked by Keith Nel­son, the cen­ter’s chair­man. In all, 14 peo­ple were killed and 22 wounded. Among those at­tend­ing the cer­e­mony was Zen Martin­sen, 56, a cler­i­cal su­per­vi­sor for San Bernardino County. While she didn’t know the vic­tims who had gath­ered at the cen­ter for a county event that day, she said all county em­ploy­ees are like fam­ily. “This af­fects ev­ery­body and I think it’s just re­ally im­por­tant that ter­ror­ism doesn’t win,” she said. “We can’t let it win.”

The cer­e­mony was just one of a se­ries of events sched­uled in the hard­scrab­ble city of 216,000 peo­ple east of Los Angeles to mark the an­niver­sary of the Dec 2, 2015, at­tack by hus­band-and-wife as­sailants on a hol­i­day lun­cheon for county health em­ploy­ees. In­ves­ti­ga­tors say the at­tack­ers were in­spired by the Is­lamic State group. Ear­lier, cy­clists con­ducted a 14-mile bike ride - one mile for each per­son who was killed.

Chok­ing up

Fri­day evening some 500 peo­ple gath­ered at Cal­i­for­nia State Univer­sity, San Bernardino’s, Caus­soulis Arena for a somber me­mo­rial for the vic­tims. Among the nu­mer­ous speak­ers, which in­cluded the city’s po­lice chief and mayor, was Julie Swann-Paez, who was gravely wounded by the shoot­ers. Swann-Paez, whose pelvis was shattered by a bul­let, spoke warmly, and sometimes hu­mor­ously of each of those killed. Still, she choked up from time to time, while some in the au­di­ence wept.

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