By Michael Ullery
CHRISTIANSBURG — The Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award presented for “heroism above and beyond the call of duty,” was first authorized in 1861, the first year of the Civil War. Since then, only 3,493 servicemen have been awarded the medal.
One of the very first Medal of Honor recipients, the first to be awarded posthumously, was Sgt. Major Marion A. Ross, Company A, 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, of Christiansburg.
Ross was born just outside Christiansburg on Oct. 9, 1832 and grew up on a farm that lies near the Miami/Champaign County line.
A group of citizens from both Miami and Champaign counties have undertaken an effort to have a memorial to Ross erected in Christiansburg, near the current Veterans Memorial located at North Main and First streets in the village.
Among those spearheading the effort is Christiansburg native Paul Sullengerger, a U. S. Navy veteran who is helping to organize the fundraiser. “I want to give something back to my hometown,” said Sullenberger, who, since retiring from the Piqua Police Department, now works closely with Jamison and Yannucci Funeral Home in Piqua in the sale of monuments and memorials.
The group is seeking to raise $$1,050 to fund the monument. The Mt. Olivet Lodge #226, of the Ohio Free Masons, of which Ross was a member, have pledged $150 to cover the inscription on the back side of the black granite monument.
Sullenberger said they hope to have the monument installed in time for Memorial Day.
As a member of the legendary Andrew’s Raiders, Ross’ exploits have been depicted in both books and film. Ross was one of more than a half-dozen Raiders who were executed by the Confederates for seizing The General, a Confederate locomotive and attempting to drive it north while destroying southern rail lines and disrupting communications.
As he was being led to his execution, Ross is said to have stated, “Tell them I died for my country and did not regret it.”
Anyone wishing to contribute to the monument can mail contributions Marion Ross Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 341 Christiansburg, OH 45389.
For more information, contact Paul Sullengerger at 937-214-3598 or Karen Davis at 937-573-8426.