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Thousands attend memorial for San Bernardino victims

Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren, pictured here from an event in 2008, focused on dealing with grief. Recalling his and his wife's struggles after their son died.
Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren, pictured here from an event in 2008, focused on dealing with grief. Recalling his and his wife's struggles after their son died.
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Thousands attended a memorial in Ontario Monday for the victims of the Dec. 2 massacre in San Bernardino. 

The attack that left 14 dead and 22 wounded brought out "the very best in our characters ... we showed the world that day and every moment since, we are San Bernardino strong," County Supervisor Janice Rutherford told the crowd at Business Bank Arena, estimated by county officials to number 4,000.

"We are Americans who stand athwart history and say to evil: stop," she said. 

Survivors and relatives' victims were among these at the memorial, most of which was taken up by remarks by Rick Warren, pastor of Orange County's Saddleback Church, and Rudolph Giuliani, who was mayor of New York on 9/11. 

Warren focused on dealing with grief. Recalling his and his wife's struggles after their son died, he said, "If you want to get through it, do not repress it. Just express it and confess it."

He offered advice for those who want to comfort those who are suffering. 

"Never say to someone, 'How do you feel? How are you handling it?' They may not want to tell you," Warren said, adding, "You may not want to hear the answer. Never say, 'I know how you feel,' because you don't. Never avoid them because you don't know what to say ... There's only one appropriate response to grief: 'I'm sorry for your family's loss.'"

Warren told the audience to "face the future with courage, and move forward in faith and not in fear ... there will come a day that you will thrive again. It won't come soon, but it will come. "

Giuliani, who spoke for nearly an hour, talked about the immediate aftermath of 9/11, and how he and others worked to help New Yorkers deal with what had happened.

He said terrorists kill because of "irrational hatred," and declared, "You can't break our spirit; we know who we are. We are a free people."

Giuliani exhorted Americans to visit San Bernardino and patronize its businesses as a way to tell terrorists, "Screw you!"

Rutherford said the community needs to "ask better questions. Instead of, 'Why us? Why here?' let's ask, 'What can I learn from this? Who am I supposed to help?' ... Let's answer those questions for each other. We can and will do all of these things for each other because we love and respect the people who were in that room on Dec. 2nd."