Boston native James Taylor sang “The Water is Wide” and led a singalong during “Shower the People.”
Biden told the Colliers that no child should predecease their parents, and that better times are ahead.
“The moment will come ... when the memory of Sean is triggered and you know it’s going to be OK,” Biden said. “When the first instinct is to get a smile on your lips before a tear to your eye.”
Rob Rogers said his 27-year-old stepbrother would have loved everything about the day, including the bagpipes and the American flag.
“He was born to be a police officer and lived out his dream,” Rogers said.
MIT President L. Rafael Reif told those gathered that Collier made countless friends on campus.
“Sean Collier didn’t have a job at MIT, he had a life at MIT,” Reif said. “In just 15 months, he built a life with us. He touched people across our community.”
Campus Police Chief John DiFava acknowledged the risk that accompanied the position of police officer, but questioned whether the risk of a job in law enforcement needed to come with such devastation.
“Sean left a lot behind,” DiFava said. “He left us a lesson: Do it right!
“If you want to cherish his memory, remember to do it right,” he said.
State police said between 4,000 and 5,000 attended the service. The line of mourners stretched for about a half-mile at MIT ahead of the service. They had to make their way through tight security, including metal detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs ahead of the service.
“He is the one of the nicest people that I’ve ever met,” said Kelly Daumit, 25, of Seattle, an engineering student at MIT who had gone on hikes with Collier as part of the MIT Outing Club. “Everything people are saying about him is completely genuine; it’s not because of what happened.”
MIT employee Larry Clark said he had only talked to Collier a couple of times but wanted to pay his respects.
“It’s very tough. It’s still a shock,” he said.
Bagpipers played “Amazing Grace” as Collier’s casket was carried from the service, and there was a fly-by with three helicopters over the campus.
A funeral was held for the officer on Tuesday.