Hundreds of Police Officers Attend 5-Year-Old's Kindergarten Graduation After Her Dad Is Killed in the Line of Duty (VIDEO)

tatum raetz

In what has to be one of the saddest yet sweetest gestures I've ever seen, hundreds of police officers showed up to a 5-year-old girl's kindergarten graduation to support her after losing her dad in the line of duty just three days earlier.

Originally, a few officers were planning on attending Tatum Raetz's graduation ceremony, but then word spread through the Phoenix police department. Lo and behold, Tatum and her mother were greeted by hundreds of men in uniform who helped honor her daddy's memory.

Take a look at this video to hear more about this beautiful and emotional tribute to Tatum's dad, Daryl Raetz.


OMG. That poor little girl! It had to have been awful to not have her father present at her graduation -- but to have to go through such a huge milestone just days after his death? That's more than any child should ever have to bear.

And how about her grieving mother? Can you honestly imagine going through the myriad of emotions between losing your husband and celebrating your child moving on to the next phase of her life? Getting up, getting dressed, and going to that graduation can't have been easy for this woman, so we can only imagine just how incredibly moved she was upon seeing all of those officers waiting for her and her daughter.

Besides giving support to Tatum and her mom, the attendance of the officers also had to make them feel like Daryl was still with them that day in a way, like his spirit still took part in celebrating a huge moment in his daughter's life.

Even though the road ahead will be a tough one for them, at least Tatum and her mom can take some comfort in knowing that they are not alone -- because they have an entire police department ready and willing to take care of them from here on out.

What words of sympathy would you offer to this woman?

elementary school, kindergarten


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LostS... LostSoul88

This story made me cry when I first heard it. Such great people 

Nelli... NellieAthome

It is great they showed up this time - but will she get the same support when she "graduates" elementary school or junior high or high school?.

Based on the kid down the street - it is very unlikely since the reality is that we all move on over time. This child will be severely disappointed and let down when she does not get the same level of support in the future. For her it will mean she and her dad have been forgotten - unfulfilled expectations hurt more than unexpected support helps.

A couple of her dad's friends should have been there for her as they will likely continue to do so for the majority of her life but that overly demonstrative level for her yesterday is going to do more damage in the long run than it did good this time.

mothe... motherof2inFL

I think it's wonderful that they were able to honor her during such a difficult time.  She knows her Dad was special to the dept. and now, thanks to this showing, she knows her family is, too. 

nonmember avatar Kim

I could not disagree with NellieAtHome more! I think this is a wonderful thing that the police department did and don't think if will do more harm than good in the long run. I lost my dad (who was also a police officer) over 20 years ago. The outpouring of support from his fellow officers and officers from other communities was much appreciated. As the years go by the pain is less intense. After 3 days it was probably all she and her mom could to show up - in 12 years when she graduates her pain likely won't be as intense as it was only 3 days after losing her dad.

Nelli... NellieAthome

Our roommate's brother's girlfriend disagrees and as the kid of a fallen officer I kind of think she has some insight. She battled depression growing up as the large number of officers who were all over her family with help in the first few days gradually disappeared making her and her mother feel ignored and forgotten. She much would have preferred that the two who have shown up for every occasion for the last 25 years had been the only ones to show to begin with because their continued presence says *to her* that they really cared and that the others were just making a symbolic gesture and didn't really care about her family perrsonally

People need support long term when a tragedy  strikes and once the cameras are gone then people go on with their own lives feeling good about themselves and never thinking of the expectations  or disappointment they are leaving behind.

Lindsay Renee Edwards

Nellie- That one random person that you barely know, does not set the precident for the entire population. I think she probably has multiple "issues" if she can't simply be GRATEFUL for the outpouring of support in her immediate time of need. Yes, the community moved on. But they were there when they were needed most. They showed support for a person that they didnt know.
That speaks volumes about a community's love for its members.

I love this story. I have read it several times today, and this is the first time I've been able to see through tears enough to even comment. That little girl will never forget what love and support she was shown on her big day. Of course she will miss her father at every other milestone as well. But they helped her get over the first one. They are admirable people.

Robcat21 Robcat21

I love this story. I agree with Kim. The support these officers showed this family 3 days after her father's death was amazing. In the years to follow, their grief will be less intense and she'll have (sad to say) settled into a new normal in a life without her dad. And, I'd be willing to bet if that mother reached out to those officers and said the family needed something, they would respond. My husband is a Marine and when our beautiful son passed in a horrible accident, the Marines showed up in droves. My 3 year old practically had a military funeral. They sent money, mowed our lawn, and were constantly checking on us, and we were not living in a military town. In the years that followed, we didn't get the same "level" of suppot or attention but we didn't need it. We had to get used to a new family, so to speak. But I know people in uniform. They take care of their own. The mother and child wll not be forgotten.

Jacki Burgess Browning

"nellie" you are ridiculous- here andnow is very importat for htis little girl and I thnk what they did for her is amazing- yo really cant expect all those officers to remember every milestone in this girls life- be apreciative of NOW


Nelli... NellieAthome

Lindsay - she is hardly a "random person" as she is someone who suffered the same loss at approximately the same age as the child in the story. Along with her are several widows who are in a support group with her mother who feel the same way. The need for support is often as much, if not more, months after the fact than it is in the immediate aftermath when everyone is falling all over themselves to help. This is why the girl truly appreciates her father's partner and supervisor who have been there year in and year out and also why she feels the force has forgotten her dad since no one other than those two officers ever bother to stop by or call to see if there is any need.

As for this child, scuttlebutt  among local officers is that the kid was overwhelmed more than appreciative. *shrug* Strangely enough not everyone wants to be the center of a big spectacle either for themselves or their children.

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