By Bruce Schreiner
The Associated Press
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. - Mournful sounds of bagpipes cascaded across a tiny cemetery Tuesday as big-city and small-town police officers dedicated a new grave marker to honor the first black Chicago police officer killed in the line of duty, nearly 84 years ago.
Cornelius Wilson, a Campbellsville native who migrated to Chicago and joined the police force there in February 1915, was remembered with prayers, hymns and tributes as a contingent of Chicago police officers made the bus trip.
Chicago police bagpipers and drummers stood at attention as Wilson was remembered as a fallen comrade who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Another honor guard was formed by members of the Campbellsville police department, Taylor County sheriff's office and Kentucky State Police.
"We reach back, we march back to see that our forgotten heroes are remembered," said Officer John Ryan, president of the Pipes and Drums of the Chicago Police Department.
Wilson was headed home after a late-night shift when he was gunned down on a Chicago street during a shootout with robbery suspects on May 1, 1919. One suspect was fatally injured.
Wilson was about 29 when he died and had a wife but no children.
Wilson's family was represented by a niece and a nephew during the ceremony filled with pomp and attended by about 150 people. Chicago city flags were presented to Wilson's descendants and to the city of Campbellsville.
The Chicago police pipes and drums corps has raised money to replace or repair 63 missing or damaged grave markers for Chicago police officers killed in the line of duty.
Through the years, Wilson's old marble headstone had broken into three pieces. He is buried near several relatives in Odd Fellows Cemetery.
His new headstone was inscribed, "Cornelius Wilson, Chicago Police Department, Killed in the line of duty, May 1, 1919." A star bearing Wilson's badge number, 2902, was etched in the lower left corner.
Wilson's name also will be added to a memorial in a Campbellsville park that's named after slain state police Trooper Johnny Edrington, a Campbellsville native, said Campbellsville police Sgt. Terry Lile.
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