Five-year-old Tatum Raetz was surrounded by an incredible show of love and support at her kindergarten graduation on Wednesday. Hundreds of Phoenix police officers showed up to celebrate her accomplishment after the little girl's father, Officer Daryl Raetz, was killed in the line of duty just days before.
A photo that surfaced on Reddit shows Tatum smiling as the police family cheered her on.
"The purpose of us is to be here in proxy for Daryl and to let her know that we're here for her," Police Officer Keith Garn told CBS5.
Another officer, James Holmes, told AZFamily.com that the original plan was for just a few cops to attend the graduation. "But the word got out that this was happening and it went viral within the department and there was absolutely no way that you could keep officers who could be here away from here. they came, even with their families," he explained.
The Phoenix Police department tweeted a photo of the incredible turnout:
To Officer Raetz's daughter and entire family...we love you THIS much! twitter.com/phoenixpolice/…
— Phoenix Police (@phoenixpolice) May 22, 2013
During the ceremony, everyone took a moment of silence for Tatum's dad. "Officer Raetz truely embodied the type of great American citizen that our school and our teachers aim to create," school director Keven Barker announced.
In the end, CBS5 reports that Tatum got a standing ovation when she received her diploma.