May 08--A Centralia police officer who died in the line of duty more than a century ago will be honored in Washington D.C. on Sunday when his carved name is unveiled on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
William Smith, 52 at the time, was struck dead two days before Christmas on Dec. 23, 1910, by a train near the corner of Kulien and Warren Streets while walking to the station for duty.
Centralia City Councillor and local historian Edna Fund came across Smith's death last year while reading through microfiche at the library.
"He is one of those forgotten heroes," Fund said.
Fund's discovery qualified Smith to be included on the memorial wall, where his name will be placed on panel 47-W, line 28.
Smith joins 362 other fallen officers whose names will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial this year. More than 19,000 names are listed on the marble memorial.
At the 24th annual ceremony, a candlelight vigil will take place along with a laser light show and musical tributes. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will give the keynote address and read the names of each new fallen officer.
Centralia Police Chief Bob Berg plans to attend the ceremony May 13 in Washington D.C. as a representative from the department. Smith's family members are also invited to the service.
Centralia Deputy Marshal J.C. Parsons, who was shot to death in 1903 while in the line of duty, already has his name on the two curving, 304-foot-long marble walls. Smith will be the second Centralia officer honored on the memorial.
The ceremony takes place during National Police Week, from May 13 to May 19. In that week, Peace Officer's Memorial Day is scheduled for May 15.
At the Centralia City Council meeting Tuesday night, the councilors will make a proclamation in honor of Peace Officer's Memorial Day, and Police Chief Berg will hand out department awards.
Copyright 2012 - The Chronicle, Centralia, Wash.