TITUSVILLE, Fla. - Hundreds of families of fallen law enforcement officers from 31 states were expected to attend an annual memorial service Friday night at the American Police Hall of Fame
"He was killed in the line of duty working undercover," remembered widow Teresa Shepherd.
The 68-year-old Hollywood, Florida, resident told News 6 Friday before the service that to her, sometimes it still feels like yesterday.
"1973, August 30," Shepherd remembered without hesitation.
That was the day she says her husband Byron Riley, a Hollywood police officer, died along with his partner during a car chase.
Shepherd was six months pregnant when Officer Riley was killed.
"My first husband was my childhood sweetheart," she told News 6. "We grew up together, got married out of high school."
Shepherd's story resonates with hundreds of other family members who attended the service Friday night.
The family survivors were joined by over 1,000 law enforcement officers.
Shepherd also attended the service last year.
"He gets honored every year I come up here," she said referencing the roll call part of the service.
Shepherd told News 6 the service is a somber time but also a time to carry on her late-husband's legacy and connect with new members of this extended family.
"It's saying how much we are supported and loved. And especially for the new ones, they need to know that," Shepherd said. "It's not a family you want to belong to, but now that you're part of it, you have a national family."
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey was scheduled to be the service's keynote speaker.
All Brevard County officers killed in the line of duty in the past 50 years were expected to receive exclusive recognition.
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