MIT Officer Sean Collier was remembered by his brother as a supportive, by his chief as caring and compassionate and by the vice president as a “hero.”
Thousands of people including MIT students and law enforcement officers from around the nation and world gathered at the Cambridge school Wednesday for a memorial service honoring the 26-year-old who was allegedly killed by the suspected Boston Marathon bombers.
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“Embrace the memories of those beautiful people we lost in the bombing … and honor this hero Sean for what he was. Remember him not merely for the sacrifice he made, but for the man he was,” said Vice President Joe Biden.
Wednesday’s service on MIT’s campus included a performance by James Taylor, a helicopter flyover and bagpipes.
“If there’s anything that we can learn from this, it’s the morals and beliefs that Sean exemplified during his time in service: respect, support and caring,” said his brother Rob Rogers.
Collier’s family attended a private funeral Tuesday.
Wednesday’s tribute was open only to law enforcement personnel and members of the MIT community. The school canceled classes and it appeared at least hundreds of students showed up.
In the wake of the bombings and killings that traumatized the region, Biden’s speech was partly a pep talk for Collier’s family and partly a pep talk for the greater community. He told the diverse group of students in attendance that they are the greatest fear of the terrorists.
Biden referred to the accused Marathon bombers - Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev - as "two twisted, perverted, cowardly, knock-off jihadis."
“We have suffered. We are grieving. But we are not bending. We will not yield to fear. We will not hunker down. We will not be intimidated,” said Biden.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.