Civil War Hero Recognized 151 Years Later

Posted on December 4, 2014 by


Helen Loring Ensign is an 85-year-old woman from California. On 6 November 2014, she received the Medal of Honor for her distant cousin Alonzo Cushing. She took the opportunity to research her family history and found that she actually had a relative who was a hero in the Civil War. She found out about all the things he had done and sacrificed, then made up a petition to send to the White House.  At last, all her hard work paid off.

“I’m excited as a history teacher. I always tell students to look into their history. This woman uncovered her own history, and her cousin was finally recognized,” history teacher Mr. Paul Kochanasz said.

Alonzo Cushing was a Civil War Veteran, but he was more than that: he was a hero. Cushing actually helped to turn the tables in the battles of Gettysburg as 1st Lieutenant. Throughout the war, he was wounded multiple times but kept insisting to go back into battle. He was only 22-years-old when he directed artillery fire against the confederate soldiers. Confederates charged the center of the Union line at Cemetery Ridge. The Union’s attack back (led by Cushing) is known as Pickett’s Charge. During this attack, Alonzo Cushing was shot in the head and killed instantly.

“He deserves this medal! He was a true hero with all his bravery.  It is amazing how he kept fighting, and in the end died a complete hero,” freshman Zach O’neill said.

One hundred and fifty-one years later, Alonzo Cushing was finally awarded with the Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor is awarded to those soldiers who display conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty. This event marks the longest time span between the event that merited the award and the time it was awarded.

“The government really did the right thing this time.  It could have just been thrown out. Even though it should have happened 151 years ago, it’s great that it was actually awarded,” Kochanasz said.

“It’s cool that she petitioned for it to be done. Clearly her determination and perseverance paid off,” chemistry teacher Mr. Matthew Biniek said.

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