On August 7, Purple Heart Day is honored. This holiday encourages people to pay their respects to fallen soldiers, to listen to the stories of soldiers and veterans, and to thank them for their service to the nation.
The Purple Heart was first created on August 7, 1782, by the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, General George Washington. Then known as the Badge of Military Merit, it was awarded to 3 Revolutionary soldiers in 1783.
After the end of the American War of Independence, no medals were awarded until 1932, when the medal was recreated on the bicentennial anniversary of George Washington’s birth.
This badge was formally reinstated by the efforts of Maj. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the U.S. Army’s chief of staff at the time. A civilian employee of the quartermaster general named Elizabeth Will redesigned the medal, which was then struck by the Philadelphia Mint. The new award, labeled the Purple Heart, was originally planned to go to American vets of First World War who had already won the Army’s Meritorious Service Citation, as well as those having been awarded “wound chevrons” for injuries sustained in combat during the conflict. MacArthur received the first Purple Heart ever given out for his contribution to the American Expeditionary Force in France.
So today in honor of this most special day, I have some ideas that can help you celebrate.
- Raise and wave a Purple Heart flag in front of your house.
- If possible, take the time to visit a Purple Heart medal awardee. As veterans, they appreciate the company of people who would listen to their story.
- Lay flowers at the grave of a fallen Purple Heart medal recipient in memory of their deeds.
- Respectfully salute a veteran. It might be a simple gesture but it would likely warm the heart of a true hero.
HAPPY PURPLE HEART DAY!