SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - A crowd gathered at the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office Friday to pay tribute to fallen officers. Family of Sullivan County's nine deceased officers were given roses to lay on a memorial.
"We're brothers and sisters in law enforcement,” Sheriff Wayne Anderson said. “So whether an officer dies in California or Texas or wherever, we mourn their death up here."
The Sullivan Central High School Choir sang the national anthem and “Amazing Grace.” The ceremony also featured a 21-gun salute and taps from Sullivan South trumpeters.
"It means the world, especially somebody in my situation,” Officer Stephen Riner II said. He was only 7-years-old when his father died. “I know Barry Shelton's son Dustin. He's in the same situation: he doesn't remember much. This is how we make our memories."
Riner brings his wife and daughter to the ceremony every year.
Mayberry deputy impersonator David Browning read the names of each fallen Sullivan County officer and shared an inspirational message with the crowd.
“Laughter is a wonderful thing,” Browning said. “Even in the face of a very serious thing.”
"Today is a day where we as a community can lift law enforcement up instead of tearing them down," Browning continued.
Family of the fallen appreciated the opportunity to reconnect with those they've lost. Riner says his father was the reason he became an officer.
"My dad, he set out to do his job and he wasn't able to finish it, so I will,” Riner said.
Families also received a keepsake of their relative's name from the National Fallen Officers Memorial in Washington.
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