BOSTON (WHDH) - The stepfather of fallen MIT Police Officer Sean Collier spoke at a special screening of the movie Patriots Day on Tuesday, marking a surreal and somber anniversary 10 years after the Boston Marathon bombing and its immediate afterlife.
Ten years since the bombings means ten years since Joe Rodgers lost Collier, his stepson, who was killed during the manhunt for the marathon bombers.
“We try to focus on the positive,” Rogers said. “So, we remember Sean and all the things he did and what he meant to us.”
Boston’s Fisher College honored Collier’s live with the screening of Patriots Day. The 2016 movie starring Mark Wahlberg is an adaptation of the best-selling book “Boston Strong,” which chronicles the marathon bombing and efforts by law enforcement to track the bombers down.
“We began the book project, myself and my co-author Dave Wedge, while the smoke was still rising on Boylston Street and we got a lot of criticism for that,” book author Casey Sherman said. “People said it was too soon and our response to that was ‘Well, is it too soon to talk about heroism?’”
Years after the bombing, the conversation about heroism is one the authors of Boston Strong say should continue for years to come.
Tuesday’s screening was followed by a panel discussion with now-retired Watertown police Sergeant John MacLellan.
MacLellan was part of the deadly gunfight with the Tsarnaev brothers, later receiving the medal of valor for his courage.
“The officers that were with me that night did an unbelievable job,” he said. “And they’re still out there doing it every day.”
The evening also supported the Sean Collier Memorial Fund, which helps police departments and nonprofits grow community-based programs.
“I think he would be very happy,” Rodgers said of Collier. “He was always volunteering his time and he was very involved.”
Near the 10 year anniversary of the bombing, speakers on Tuesday said the real legacy of Boston Strong is something even a Hollywood blockbuster couldn’t quite capture — the beacons of hope that outshine one of Boston’s darkest days.
“There’s plenty of men and women out there, Sean, that are carrying on what you started,” MacLellan said. “Rest well brother.”
Tuesday’s screening was free, though organizers collected donations to the Sean Collier Memorial Fund. Fisher College also donated $1,000.
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