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Cushing won't get his medal - at least this year

Dec. 21, 2012

Lake Country Civil War historians and Delafield city officials are going to have to wait until next year before they make another attempt to get Congress to go along with the idea of awarding the Medal of Honor posthumously to Civil War hero Lt. Alonzo Cushing of Delafield.

A U.S. House and Senate conference committee last week refused to restore an amendment to a defense-spending bill that would have paved the way for Cushing to receive the medal.

The amendment would have permitted Cushing to be awarded the medal despite the fact that law requires recommendations for the medal to be made within two years of the heroic incident.

The waiver of the deadline was supported by both the secretary of army and the secretary of defense, according to David Krueger, who is the City of Delafield liaison to the Medal of Honor effort.

Krueger said he was disappointed that the conference committee would not restore the amendment.

"But my spirits were lifted after talking to Rep. Sensenbrenner's and Rep. Ron Kind's office. Rep. Kind is a Civil War historian, and his office was really fired up about trying again," Krueger said.

Sensenbrenner spokeswoman Amanda Infield predicted that the Wisconsin congressional delegation would try again next year in a bipartisan effort to get congressional approval of the waiver.

Infield explained that Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) stripped the amendment from the National Defense Appropriation Act two weeks ago.

Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Menomonee Falls and Kind, a Democrat from La Crosse, along with other members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation, wrote letters urging members of the committee to restore the amendment.

But the committee, which included Webb, refused.

Webb explained in a news release that he voted against the waiver because "it is impossible for Congress to go back to events of 150 years ago to make individual determinations in a consistent, equitable and well-informed manner."

"While one would never wish to demean any act of courage, I believe that the retroactive determination in one case could open up an endless series of claims. The better wisdom would be for Congress to leave history alone," Webb concluded.

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

North Shore Bank-Taste of Lake Country: 5 p.m. July 29, 4 p.m. July 30, Pewaukee Beach Front, 120 W. Wisconsin Ave., Pewaukee. Headline Friday night is The Toys and Saturday night The Love Monkeys. Free.

Kids from Wisconsin: 7:30 p.m. July 29, Oconomowoc Arts Center, 641 E. Forest St., Oconomowoc. Celebrating its 48th show season with a talented group of 33 young performers representing 29 different hometowns across Wisconsin, this year’s tour theme is Sing! Free.

Wisconsin State Frog Jump Championship: 1 p.m. July 30-31, Cory Park, Downtown Dousman, Dousman. Visit  

Catelyn Picco: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 31, Mama D’s Coffee, 104 W Main St., Wales. Free.

All weekend happenings