Special ceremony: Alonzo Cushing to receive Medal of Honor posthumously on November 6th

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Alonzo Cushing

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WITI) – A 94-year-old woman has been fighting for decades to see a Civil War soldier honored for his sacrifice on the battlefield. Now, new details have been released regarding when President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to Army First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing for conspicuous gallantry.

Margaret Zerwekh feels a special connection to the man who lived on the land near the Bark River in Delafield a century and a half ago.  Since she moved to Delafield in the 1980s, Zerwekh has held a deep respect for Alonzo Cushing, whose face is carved into a monument in Cushing Memorial Park.

Alonzo Cushing was born along the Bark River in 1841.

Cushing will soon receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions while serving as commanding officer of Battery A, 4th United States Artillery, Artillery Brigade, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac during combat operations in the vicinity of Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 3, 1863. 

During Longstreet’s Assault, also known as Pickett’s Charge, First Lieutenant Cushing’s battery took a severe pounding by Confederate artillery.  As the Confederate forces advanced, he manned the only remaining, and serviceable, field piece in his battery.  During the advance, he was wounded in the abdomen as well as in the right shoulder.  Refusing to evacuate to the rear despite his severe wounds, he directed the operation of his lone field piece continuing to fire.  With the Confederate forces within 100 yards of his position, Cushing was shot and killed during this heroic stand.  His actions made it possible for the Union Army to successfully repulse the assault.

First Lieutenant Cushing’s cousins, Frederic Stevens Sater and Frederic Cushing Stevens III, and families will join the President at the White House on November 6th to commemorate his example of selfless service and sacrifice.

The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty while:

  • engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
  • engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
  • serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party

The meritorious conduct must involve great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life. There must be incontestable proof of the performance of the meritorious conduct, and each recommendation for the award must be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.

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