Vice President Biden on Wednesday railed against the “twisted, perverted, knock-off jihadists” alleged to have planted the bombs that killed three and injured hundreds at the Boston Marathon last week.
Some media reports estimated 10,000 people were on hand for the event. Biden’s voice boomed across the outdoor venue as he roused onlookers with a harsh indictment of religious and political extremists that resort to acts of terror.
Biden called the terrorists “craven, misguided, perverted apostles” that misunderstood the Islamic faith. He said they hated the U.S. for “our open society, our system of justice that guarantees freedom, and the access of every American to opportunity.”
“It infuriates them,” Biden said.
“Our very existence makes a lie of their perverted ideology, so the only way they can gain ground is to instill fear a as way to get us to jettison our values, to get us to change,” he continued. “The moment we change ... or get in a crouch or get defensive, that is the moment they win.”
Two ethnic Chechen brothers — Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — are believed to have carried out the bombing. Tamerlan, 26, died after a shootout with police last Friday morning in Watertown, Mass. Dzhokhar, 19, was captured after a citywide manhunt later that day.
He is recovering in a Boston hospital from gunshot wounds and has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property in the United States.
Biden said the refusal of Americans to live in fear of terrorist attacks would someday crush the spirits of potential attackers.
“On every frontier, terrorism as a weapon is losing, it is not gaining adherence,” he said. “What galls them the most is that America does remain that shining city on the hill. We’re a symbol of the hopes and dreams of the very aspirations of people around the world.”
Biden also spoke personally to Collier's family and recalled a personal tragedy in which he lost his newborn daughter and wife in car accident.
“I know from experience that the moment will come when that thing that triggers the memory of Sean, that moment … you’ll know it’s going to be OK when your first instinct is to get a smile to your lips rather than a tear to your eye,” he said.
“It’s impossible to fathom that will happen now, but I’m telling you it will.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) spoke before Biden. She said Collier’s spirit of service was evident in the city’s reaction to the bombing.
“It is that same spirit we saw in the firefighters, police officers, EMS, and Guard, coordinating the first response and turning peril into protection,” she said.
“It is that same spirit we saw in the world-class hospitals — doctors and nurses and support staff — who worked through the day and the night and the day again, and who made the difference between life and death.”