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Listen in: Kasinal Cashe White, Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy remember Sgt. First Class Alwyn Cashe ahead of Medal of Honor ceremony

Sgt. First Class Alwyn Cashe.
Sgt. First Class Alwyn Cashe.

Sgt. First Class Alwyn Cashe of Oviedo will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor at the White House on Thursday for his heroism during the Iraq War. Cashe rescued six soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter from a burning vehicle struck by an IED, sustaining burns on 72 percent of his body. He later died from his injuries. 

WMFE spoke with his sister Kasinal Cashe White and Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy about this recognition sixteen years after his death.

Read the full interview below. 
Danielle: So Kasinal, it took 16 years for your brother to get this Medal of Honor. What does this moment mean for you and your family, but also the community here in Central Florida where he grew up and had his family?

Kasinal: I am from Florida, you know that. I think the lottery now is up to $240 million. That's how I feel it's like winning the Florida lottery, it's a once in a lifetime thing. We know that this could never happen again. Not with my brother Al, of course, because he's deceased. But we are just pumped. We are ecstatic. We just, I don't even know what to feel. Because I don't even know if there's a word in the dictionary for what I feel. I have to create a new word.

Danielle: You know, tell me about the last 16 years I know you've been at the forefront of this along with, you know, the congresswoman, but what did you what's the journey been like the last 16 years making this happen?

Kasinal: It's been like Atlas, you know, the mythical legend. He carried the world on his back. Sometimes it was harder uphill than downhill. Of course, it's been like that. But in the process, I have met some friends that I hope will remain friends for life. Some of his battle buddies from the 3rd ID.

Danielle: Congresswoman Murphy, I know that you were crucial in getting the bill passed that has allowed Al to get this medal.

Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy: You know Kasinal and I, I feel so lucky to have gotten to know her throughout this process. She's had just the same fighting spirit as her brother. She was relentless and determined to do this. And I'm glad that I was able to introduce a bill that would basically waive the five-year restriction on granting the Medal of Honor. Basically, it made it possible for Alwyn to posthumously receive this medal. But I do think that waiving the five-year time limit allows people to be honored and not have to worry about trying to get things through the bureaucracy. And you know the truth, the truth of the matter is that you're a hero, whether, you know somebody recognizes it within five years or 16 years later.

Danielle: How do you want him to be remembered?

Kasinal: I want him to be remembered as, and I'll say this, and I think I quote this every time because he was a poor boy from Oviedo, Florida that did good. I want him to be remembered that he loved his family. That includes his biological family and his family, from the military. He loved those guys. He talked about him. And, you know, they made him the man that he is. That's what I want him to be remembered for: love, honor and respect.

Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy: You know, Alwyn Cashe was a hero. He deserves to be recognized. And it's important for our country in this moment where there's so much discord and so much discontent that we lift up American heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defending this country because he saw the value and understood the importance of service.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.
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