"I'm sure I speak for the whole nation when I say our hearts ache for you."
So said Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday, speaking to the family of slain New York police officer Rafael Ramos.
Biden appeared to choke back tears as he took the podium.
"Justin and Jaden, you have displayed... tremendous courage these past few days," Biden said to Ramos' teenage children. "You are your father's sons."
He also addressed Ramos' wife.
"The time will come when Rafael's memory will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eyes," Biden said.
"New York's finest," Biden said, is not "an idle phrase" without meaning.
"This is probably the finest police department in the world," Biden said, drawing the first applause of his speech. "They earned that praise."
Biden praised the multicultural city of New York, "a city where the son of a Chinese immigrant shared a patrol with a Hispanic minister in training."
He also noted President Barack Obama's connection to the city, the "city that educated the son of a woman from Kansas and a man from Kenya."
Biden said he never met Ramos or his partner, Wenjian Liu, but in a sense, he knew them well.
"I knew them," Biden said. "They're the guys I grew up with in Scranton and...Delaware. The boy with the most courage...The brother who always looked out for his sister...The son who made his mother proud every time he turned and smiled at her."
Being a cop is not what they did. It's who they were.
Police officers and police families are a different breed. Thank God for them. Thank God for them.
Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter