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Honoring officers who died protecting the community

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COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- The 24th annual Tri-Cities Law Enforcement Memorial Breakfast was very emotional as families and friends honored and remembered dozens of officers who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the community.

Jennifer Smith brought her children to the event that honored her late husband Virginia State Trooper Nathan Michael Smith.

He was killed in a car crash while responding to an emergency call in 2015.

"We try to talk about him and we still celebrate birthdays and special events and we have pictures up around the house just keeping his memory alive by talking about him," Smith said.

Hundreds of people, some with heartbreaking stories like Smith's, came to pay their respects.

A candle was lit to honor each of the 26 officers killed while serving in the Tri-Cities.

"Everything is a challenge for them, every traffic stop is dangerous," Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox said. "They put their lives on the line 24 hours a day.”

The memorial ended with a moment of silence and prayer to comfort those who lost loved ones.

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