Police Officers take their seats at a memorial service for MIT Police Officer Sean Collier (inset)
Brian Snyder/Landov; Inset: Courtesy Boston Globe
04/24/2013 at 02:55 PM EDT
As bagpipes wailed, more than 4,000 mourners paid their respects Wednesday to an MIT police officer Sean Collier
, who authorities say was ambushed in his cruiser by the Boston Marathon bombers
MIT students, faculty and staff, law enforcement officials from across the nation and Vice President Joe Biden gathered on the campus in Cambridge to remember Collier, a MIT officer who authorities say was gunned down by Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev three days after the bombing.
The line of mourners stretched for a half-mile. They had to make their way through tight security, including metal detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs.
Biden told the Colliers that no child should die before his or her parents, but that, in time, the grief will lose some of its sting.
"The moment will come when the memory of Sean is triggered and you know it's going to be okay," the vice president said. "When the first instinct is to get a smile on your lips before a tear to your eye."
Meanwhile, in a sign of how things were slowly and painfully getting back to normal in Boston, the area around the finish line on Boylston Street reopened nine days after the tragedy
, freshly poured cement still drying on the repaired sidewalk.