SAN BERNARDINO, CALIF. —
Government employees at the California facility where 14 people were gunned down in what President Barack Obama called a terrorist attack returned to work on Monday, as crowds gathered later in the evening for another candlelight vigil to remember those killed and wounded.
While some in the area are trying to return to normal routines, the impending funerals and memorial services for the victims is a reminder that life is different in the wake of the attack.
“Our lives will never be the same,” said San Bernardino County Worker Yolanda Brown, one of many here still coming to grips with last week's deadly assault.
“We see the cars running around us, life will move on in their hearts, but we need to understand that the lives of the victims, that its going to be hard for them for the rest of their lives,” said resident Bryant Trujillo.
Trujillo has lived in San Bernardino his whole life. Although he doesn’t know the victims personally, he wants to be a part of the healing process, and offered to help in the only way many know how… through prayer.
“The minutes, the seconds, the days, after such a tragedy as this are where those hearts are so fragile, so we need to be there to support and to love them,” he said.
Support and love was easy to find in San Bernardino five days after the tragedy. Not just at the growing makeshift memorial to the victims but also at an interfaith vigil at the San Bernardino County Government Center Monday night. Residents, lawmakers and labor union officials gathered to show support and solidarity for those whose lives are now forever changed by a terrorist act.
“So let’s remember the workers killed and injured in San Bernardino for who they were, and who they are. Everyday heroes working to make their communities a better place to live,” said Bob Schoonover with Service Employees International Union.
Law enforcement officials continue to search for clues as to how these events unfolded, and what inspired them.
But Bryant Trujillo isn’t sure those are the kind of answers that will ultimately heal his community.
“I don’t think it matters to the families if it was a terrorist or a thug, their families lost, and that’s all they're worried about,” he said.
What he wants is what most people want in the wake of such tragedies.
“When we see it hit Paris, when we see it hit Boston, we stop for five minutes, we pray, and then we kind of move on with our lives. But when it hits close to home, its like if somebody went to your doorstep. This is our doorstep, and we aren’t going to allow it to continue,” he said.
Preventing future tragedies is the enduring challenge for U.S. lawmakers and security officials.