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Dozens gather at memorial for TPD Officer Anthony Dia marking 2 years since his line of duty death

Officer Anthony Dia's family wants the Fourth of July to be a day of celebration, especially for his sons Younes and Maytham.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Monday marked two years since Toledo Police Officer Anthony Dia was killed in the line of duty and the community showed up to his memorial to pay respects.

Dia was shot and killed by a man in the Home Depot parking lot on Alexis Road on July 4, 2020. He was just 26 years old, leaving behind a wife and two young boys.

RELATED: 'He died protecting Toledo' | Chief George Kral and Officer Anthony Dia's father discuss the young man who died a hero July 4

July 3, 2020, was the day Officer Anthony Dia left for work and didn't come home.

"So, we kind of did our sad thing yesterday [July 3] and we went to the cemetery," Dia's mother, Gina Long, said. "We came up here five different times and we prayed. They talked about memories with him and we did all the stuff."

But his family wants the Fourth of July to be a day of celebration, especially for his two sons Younes and Maytham.

RELATED: Dozens of TPD officers walk Officer Dia's sons to school

For Dia's wife Jayme, she can look down at her left arm and remember the legacy her late husband is leaving.

"He loved Batman and he always said he felt like Batman protecting his dark city," Jayme said. "Then I have a badge that says '118' instead of '484.' And this says, 'I love you, babe' in his actual handwriting off of a Mother's Day card."

Friends and family alike left flowers on Dia's memorial. 

Even strangers, connected by having a son in blue, paid their respects. 

"This is just wonderful, just wonderful for the family," said the mother of a TPD officer, Suzanne Knapp. "I mean, when you're a mother of a police officer, you have a lot of other sons and daughters also."

And for Dia's two boys, his family is making sure they grow up to always know the kind of man - and officer - their dad was. 

"We just have so many memories. I tell my husband we can't ever move because my home is full of memories of my son," Gina said. "Watching him with his boys - that was really the best."

"We keep them involved in stuff that Anthony loved and do a lot of giving back," Jayme said. "So, I'm just trying to raise them to be the best little boys."

Dia was an avid dog-lover and his sons are walking in his footsteps. For their birthdays this year, they donated the money they received to the humane society.

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