One hundred and fifty years after the Battle of Gettysburg, efforts to award a Medal of Honor to a Civil War hero from Delafield who died on the Gettysburg battlefield have moved a step forward.
An amendment to award Lt. Alonzo Cushing the nation's highest honor passed last week in the House of Representatives as part of the National Defense Authorization Act and now requires U.S. Senate approval. The amendment was co-sponsored by Reps. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls.)
Medal of Honor recommendations must be submitted within two years of the heroic action and be awarded within three years. But the amendment makes it possible to waive the time limit requirement. It must be approved by both the House and Senate and the president.
Cushing died July 3, 1863, during Pickett's Charge at Cemetery Ridge next to the artillery guns he refused to leave despite severe wounds. It was the third and final day of the Gettysburg battle. Cushing was just 22. The 1st lieutenant was buried beneath a headstone inscribed "faithful until death" at his alma mater, West Point.
In 2010 the secretary of the Army approved the request for a Medal of Honor for Cushing by a group of people who had campaigned for the award since the 1980s. But the effort died in Congress as did subsequent attempts.