Historians claim that Cushing’s heroics played a part in holding back a Confederate charge which could have dramatically altered the outcome of the iconic Battle of Gettysburg had it been successful. Despite his actions contributing to the Union victory, he did not receive any decoration.
President Obama is to posthumously award the Medal of Honor to Cushing’s descendants in a ceremony at the White House.
A long campaign
Margaret Zerwekh, who lived on a farm once owned by the Cushing family, started asking why his heroism had not been rewarded after doing some research on his history. She enlisted the help of ex-Senator William Proxmire to campaign for his nomination for the Medal of Honor, which was approved by the Army in 2010.
Such a long time had passed since the battle that Congress had to suspend the statute of limitations on the honor in order to allow President Obama to approve the award.
Zerwekh only met many members of the Cushing family this week, and the extended family will be present for the joyful award of the honor. His descendant Jessica Loring claimed that the medal “needs to be shown so people today can understand the price of making our country free and the sacrifice it takes. We want to bring Alonzo to life in what he did for this nation.”
Civil war soldier’s proud family
Although accurate records of Cushing’s last acts do not exist, historians have claimed that his heroism was evident due to accounts of the state of the battlefield, which “looked like a slaughterhouse.”
It seems that heroism runs in the family, as two other Cushing brothers are also considered war heroes. William B. Cushing was a navy commander who famously sunk the ironclad CSS Albemarle. Soldier Howard B. Cushing fought in the Civil War and was later killed by Apaches.
It’s never too late to honor an old hero and I’m sure the Cushing family will be very proud to receive the Medal of Honor on behalf of First Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing.