MIT Students Hung Thousands of Paper Cranes in Memory of Officer Sean Collier

People from all over Greater Boston contributed to the project.

Photo via Cranes for Collier

Photo via Cranes for Collier

On Friday, April 18, the MIT community took the day to remember Officer Sean Collier, who was shot and killed last year by the alleged Boston Marathon bombing suspects while sitting in his car, on duty, near the school.

The anniversary of the officer’s death was marked with ceremonies, brief reflections by Senator Elizabeth Warren, Cambridge Mayor David Maher, and members of the MIT Police Department, as well as the unveiling of plans for a permanent memorial in his name, at the site where his life was unexpectedly taken from him.

In the month leading up to the anniversary of Collier’s death, some students felt compelled to do something else to honor the fallen officer. So a select group rallied together and organized an independent project called “Cranes for Collier,” and asked people to help create as many mini paper cranes as possible for a display in Collier’s name that would demonstrate the strength and support of the MIT community.

Event planners set up a website with information about the initiative, which included links to instructions on how to fold a paper crane, and where to buy the proper paper for the project. They even set up two boxes for people to drop off the hand-made birds once they were complete.

What the group had hoped would be a heartfelt tribute to Collier, however, exceeded their expectations. “The response was overwhelming: thousands of cranes poured in from students, faculty, alumni, and friends from throughout the greater Boston area,” according to the group behind the project.

The final product was a massive collection of the miniature birds, strung together in long rows and hung high above the ground from MIT’s Gates Atrium at the Stata Center, signifying the connectedness of each member of the community that memorialized Collier’s legacy.

“As a result, the cranes float together,” the group said. “Donations of cranes came from all over, and it was exceedingly moving to see the level of care and effort from everyone who contributed.”