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Obama Awards Medal of Honor to Civil War Soldier

  • VOA News

First Lt. Alonzo Cushing, shown in an undated photo provided by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

First Lt. Alonzo Cushing, shown in an undated photo provided by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Alonzo H. Cushing gave his life for his country more than 150 years ago - and today he was recognized for bravery by the president of the United States.

Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor - the country's highest military decoration - to First Lieutenant Cushing, killed at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

More than 24 members of the Cushing family were at the White House Thursday to accept the medal.

Cushing was killed during an infantry assault by southern troops on the Union Army on the last day of the three-day Battle of Gettysburg. Although badly wounded, Cushing refused to back down as he led northern troops against more than 10,000 advancing Confederate soldiers.

Historians call this the turning point in favor of the Union in the U.S. Civil War.

Cushing is buried at the U.S. Army's military academy at West Point, New York. Historians and Cushing's family have kept his story alive.

President Obama said the medal reflects the obligations the country has to its servicemen and women, long after they've taken off their uniforms.

He said the medal is a reminder that no matter how long it takes, it is never too late to do the right thing.

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