President Barack Obama stands with Helen Loring Ensign, 85, from Palm Desert, Calif., after awarding the Medal of Honor posthumously to Army First Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing for conspicuous gallantry during a ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at a ceremony to present the Medal of Honor posthumously to Army First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing for conspicuous gallantry in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. First Lieutenant Cushing received the Medal of Honor for his actions during combat operations in the vicinity of Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 3, 1863
President Barack Obama stands with Helen Loring Ensign, 85, from Palm Desert, Calif., after awarding the Medal of Honor posthumously to Army First Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing for conspicuous gallantry during a ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. With them, from left to right, are Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., Army Secretary John McHugh and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald.
U.S. Army First Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing is pictured in a military academy graduation photograph dated 1861, obtained on October 28, 2014. President Barack Obama posthumously awarded the Civil War artillery officer the Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. award for bravery, 151 years after Cushing was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg.
President Barack Obama stands with Helen Loring Ensign, as the citation for her relative, U.S. Army First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing is read
Margaret Zerwekh of Delafield, Wis. raises her hand as she is acknowledged by President Barack Obama during a ceremony awarding the Medal of Honor posthumously to Army First Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing for conspicuous gallantry. President Obama acknowledged the work of Zerwekh, a 94-year-old amateur historian from Cushing’s hometown who painstakingly researched his story and lobbied Wisconsin’s congressional delegation for decades
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during a special daytime workshop for high school students from military communities in the greater Washington area
Willie Nelson, right, and fellow panelist, songwriter Ted Peterson, left, hip hop recording artist Common, second from right, listen as Army Sgt. Christiana Ball responds to a question
Even at a ripe 45, I have some of the sense of invulnerability that I had at 25. There is no good reason for me to be so confident; I have the physicals and admonitions from my doctor to prove so. But, I guess it’s better than being like some people, who treat every errant mole as a sign of the Grim Reaper’s impending visit.
However, everything ends. The one surety in life is that your time on Earth is short an precious. Would we appreciate life if we somehow discovered the fountain of youth? I don’t know. But the short lives we have now make every moment unique, of a singular nature, whether in joy or sorrow.
As life is short, something which always informs my decisions is the question: Am I making the world a better place. I’m not talking about great, macro-historical acts. I’m talking about the little things, the everyday kindnesses, the quotidian miracles which will not make it to the history books, but which may change a person’s life in innumerable ways for the better.
It’s a question by which I try to live. But it’s also a question which too few of our fellow citizens ask.