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Memorial honoring lives lost during 2015 San Bernardino mass shooting now open

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San Bernardino County Behavioral Health
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Photo of the 'Curtain of Courage' memorial located at the San Bernardino County Government Center.

San Bernardino County, on June 17, dedicated a memorial to the 14 lives lost during the 2015 San Bernardino mass shooting.

The memorial is called the Curtain of Courage. "The curtain is a symbol of these lives that brought such great light into our world that even though they are gone, their light remains," said San Bernardino County assistant executive officer Diana Alexander.

The memorial is made up of 14 bronze-colored alcoves shaped like protective curtains, one to honor each life lost. "As we look at this monument, may we reflect on the memories and lessons of each very precious life," Alexander said. "Because it is this, our shared story, with all this pain and tragedy that binds us together as a diverse community of people around our county today, and even with those around our world."

Each alcove has a bench with a plaque engraved with the victims' names and a quote chosen by family members. "Honestly, sitting here, it brings so much comfort," said Jolene Verdeyou. "I honestly hope to come back and spend time here because of how pretty it is and how meaningful it is. Not only just to me but to everybody in the county because it does feel like home."

Verdeyou was 15 years old when her mother, Bennetta Betbadal, was killed during the attack. The quote on her mother's bench reads, "Pain is temporary, Love Lasts Forever." Verdeyou described what the quote means to her. "You know love lasts forever. You can take the pain and move forward and realize at some point that love was there and will always be there because those people are always watching out for you, and those memories of that love will always be there."

The Curtain of Courage memorial is located on the eastern side of the San Bernardino County Government Center at 385 N. Arrowhead Ave. in San Bernardino.

Jonathan Linden was a reporter at 91.9 KVCR in San Bernardino, California. He joined KVCR in July 2021 and served with the station till October 2022.