SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Hundreds of people showed up at the California State Capitol in Sacramento for an annual tradition to honor law enforcement that was previously delayed because of the pandemic.

The families of three dozen fallen officers and deputies walked amid a sea of uniforms in front of the Capitol to the California Peace Officers memorial monument.

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“I think it puts meaning behind law enforcement,” Steve Geist said of the moment.

Geist says he wouldn’t miss it. He retired from the San Bernadino County Sheriff’s Office after 31 years and was a motor officer who participated in the caravan from the California Highway Patrol Academy that kicked off the event.

“You want to pay tribute to your brothers and sisters that were killed in the line of duty,” he said. “It’s a traumatic thing.”

It’s the first time the memorial has been held since 2019 due to the pandemic.

“We’ve been able to honor officers in other ways, but it’s really nice to be able to come together as the law enforcement family since we have not been able to have it in so long to support our brothers and sisters who have given the ultimate sacrifice,” said Zach Eaton, spokesperson for the Sacramento Police Department.

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The ceremony honored 36 fallen officers, including a half a dozen from in and around the Greater Sacramento region: El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Ishmael, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Gibson, Stockton Police Officer Jimmy Inn, Galt Police Officer Harminder Grewal, Davis Police Officer Natalia Corona and Sacramento Police Officer Tara O’Sullivan.

A female peace officer statue was also unveiled.

Honor guards from across the state participated in the moving memorial.

“It’s definitely nice to come back out and show support and be together as one because we’re all a family,” Brittany Madriv said.

Madriv’s husband works with the Bakersfield Police Department. She brought their boys who were proud to participate in a poignant ceremony that puts law enforcement in a positive light.

“It means a lot because if that would have been me, I would want the support as well,” she said.

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The ceremony is held every year following National Police Week.