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Mr. Hunter said like so many people, “you don’t ever expect that to happen to your family.”

“How do you stay strong? You say, ‘It’s your family, you have to be strong, right’ ” Mr. Hunter said. “We gather together as a family, to draw strength from each other. We want the word out, I’m sure that every family wants the word out, that these were good people, doing their jobs and they loved their country.”

Jane Bissler, the first vice president of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, said that for relatives of victims in mass tragedies, interviews and concerned friends can serve as distractions. As time passes, relatives left behind could find themselves at another stage of grief.

“It becomes more personalized as far as, ‘Oh my gosh, this is my loss now, ” she said.

She said in the short term, relatives often face the challenge of preserving the memory of their loved one as an individual and not a statistic.

“People are not looking for three minutes of fame, they’re looking at this as ‘That’s my mom,’” Ms. Bissler said. “Nobody wants their loved ones to be forgotten.

Mr. Hunter shared the sentiment.

“I guess you let things roll off you when it’s somebody else,” he said. “All of a sudden it happens to your family.”