Purple Heart Day, A day of Heroes
Anyone associated with the military knows the honor of the Purple Heart. The medal is used to recognize the sacrifice of those who have been injured or killed in battle. The Purple Heart is a badge of honor, service and unselfish sacrifice.
On 7 August 1782, George Washington, the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army created the first version of the Purple Heart. It was known then as the “Badge for Military Merit”, and was a decoration consisting of a purple with a heart-shaped piece of silk, and edged with a narrow binding of silver. It then had the word Merit stitched across the face in silver. It was given to soldiers who distinguished themselves during the Revolutionary War, and was a free pass, with the wearer being able to pass by guards without being challenged. During the War, only three soldiers were awarded the Badge, and their names were recorded in the Book of Merit. They were Elijah Churchill, William Brown and Daniel Bissell, Jr. After the end of the war, the Book of Merit was lost, and the Badge of Military Merit was shoved into the background.
It was not until 1927, when a failed bill to revive the award brought it again into the forefront. General Douglas MacArthur took up the cause in 1931, with the hope that he could have it reinstated by George Washington’s birthday. It was on the 200th birthday of President Washington, February 22, 1932, that the Order of the Purple Heart was founded through the U.S. War Department. The new design features George Washington, and the Coat of Arms of the Washington family. The honor that the award holds still rings as true as it did when the first award was created. President Washington, during his time as Commander in Chief of the Army, wished to reward soldiers who had distinguished themselves, above and beyond the call of duty.
Because of his foresight, and his dedication to the troops that he commanded, we have an established decoration for our heroes. For those who have been awarded the honor, either while living or posthumously, we applaud you. The distinction and the selflessness that were demanded speak of the dedication of our military members. Today there have been estimated 1.8 MILLION Purple Hearts awarded. I have the honor of being the granddaughter to a triple Purple Heart recipient. Today, you can visit the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor, New York. Make plans to visit and pay your respects today!
President Washington summed it up the best:
“Let it be known that he who wears the military order of the purple heart has given of his blood in the defense of his homeland and shall forever be revered by his fellow countrymen.” – Geo. Washington, General and Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, Aug. 7 1782
If you wish to learn more about the Purple Heart award, you can read more about it here: