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BY DUANE ALLEN VACHON, PH.D. Since the Civil War, more than 39 million men and women have answered the call to serve. Of those, 3,440 served with such uncommon valor and extraordinary courage that they were presented with the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award. 75 of these Medal of Honors were awarded to Hoosiers. In Indianapolis there is a Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial. It consist of a series of 27 curved glass walls that pay tribute to 3,456 Medal of Honor recipients representing 15 different conflicts. Every day at dusk, the Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial plays recorded stories of medal winners or of the conflicts in which they fought. The memorial is located on the north side of downtown’s Central Canal in White River State Park and is well worth a visit should your travels bring you to Indianapolis.




William Zion was born in Knightstown Indiana on October 23, 1872. He served in the United States Marine Corps and later in the United States Army. In 1900, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his “meritorious conduct” as a Marine in China. He later become a United States Army First Lieutenant During World War I he was in charge of a German POW barracks in Fort Oglethorpe. Zion died on March 25, 1919 of an apparent accidental gunshot wound inflicted while cleaning his weapon. Lieutenant Zion is buried in the Chattanooga National Cemetery. According to Sydney Gumpertz in his book The Jewish Legion of Valor, Zion was Jewish.

​​Early at the turn of the century a rebel force in China that called itself the Society of “Righteous and Harmonious Fists”, subsequently called the “Boxers”, initiated a rebellion in China that threatened the legations of several nations in Peking and Tientsen. The 1st Regiment (Marines) under Major Littleton Waller arrived in China on June 19 and tried to seize Tientsin, but was driven back. On June 23 Waller’s Marines finally entered the Tientsin, where they held tenuously until reinforced by U.S. Army troops on July 12. Private William Zion was one of ten Marine privates and one Marine drummer awarded the Medal of Honor for the continuing actions from July 19 until the scaling of the walls at Peking, rout of the Boxers, and rescue of the civilians and their Marine Guard on August 17.

The President of the United States
in the name of
The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the

Medal of Honor




Rank and Organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 23 October 1872, Knightstown, Ind. Accredited to: California. G. O. No.: 55 19 July 1901.


In the presence of the enemy during the battle of Peking, China, 21 July to 17 August 1900. Throughout this period, Zion distinguished himself by meritorious conduct.





Zion was honorably discharged from Marine Corps on 29 July 1904. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on 5 August 1905. He accepted a commission as a 2d Lieutenant in July 1917 and served in the Army until his death in 1919 He is buried at the Chattanooga National Cemetery in Chattanooga, Tennessee


The information in this article was sourced from a variety of sources both internal and external. Every effort was made to ensure that the information is current and correct. These articles are presented to honor the heroes they are written about.


If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a veteran.


Author: Duane Vachon

Duane A. Vachon PhD has been a licensed clinical psychologist for over thirty years. He belongs to the order of Secular Franciscans and is a life member of the Guild of Pastoral Psychology. After living almost 40 years as an expatriate, he now writes from his home in Hawaii. He has several books published and has written hundreds of articles on social justice and spiritual issues. His Doctoral thesis on ethics has set the standard at many universities. Reach Dr. Vachon at vachon.duane@gmail.com





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