National Purple Heart Day 2023

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National Purple Heart Day 2023

National Purple Heart Day 2023

National Purple Heart Day is observed on August 7th each year in the United States. This day is dedicated to honoring and paying tribute to the brave men and women who have been awarded the Purple Heart medal for their sacrifice and service while serving in the U.S. Military.

The Purple Heart is a military decoration awarded to members of the armed forces who have been wounded or killed in action. It was first created by George Washington in 1782 as the “Badge of Military Merit,” making it the oldest military award still given to U.S. Military members.

On National Purple Heart Day, various events, ceremonies, and activities take place across the country to show appreciation for the sacrifice and valor of Purple Heart recipients. It’s an opportunity for the nation to come together and express gratitude to those who have endured injuries and made significant sacrifices to protect and defend the country.

HISTORY OF PURPLE HEART DAY

The history of National Purple Heart Day dates back to the origins of the Purple Heart medal itself. The Purple Heart was originally established as the “Badge of Military Merit” by General George Washington on August 7, 1782, during the American Revolutionary War. The purpose of this award was to recognize soldiers’ exceptional valor and meritorious service in combat.

The Badge of Military Merit was initially awarded to three soldiers of the Continental Army in 1783. However, after the Revolutionary War, the badge fell into disuse, and it wasn’t until World War I that efforts were made to revive and redesign the award.

On February 22, 1932, in honor of the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth, the United States War Department announced the reestablishment of the Purple Heart award. This time, it was created as a decoration for soldiers who had been wounded or killed in action during any conflict involving the U.S. military.

The design of the Purple Heart medal features a heart-shaped purple enameled medal with a profile of George Washington in the center. Above his profile is a coat of arms and a leafy cluster, while the reverse side bears the inscription “For Military Merit.”

Initially, the Purple Heart was exclusively awarded for wounds received during World War I. However, the eligibility criteria were expanded over the years to include injuries sustained in any armed conflict involving the United States. This includes World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War, among others.

In 1942, the Purple Heart was made available to members of all U.S. military branches, and in 1952, the criteria were further expanded to include posthumous awards to the families of service members killed in action.

National Purple Heart Day was designated by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2003. This day serves as an annual reminder to honor the sacrifices and service of Purple Heart recipients and to pay tribute to those who have been wounded or lost their lives in service to their country. On this day, various ceremonies and events are held to recognize the bravery and resilience of these courageous individuals.

Criteria

The specific criteria for National Purple Heart Day are not set by law or regulation. National Purple Heart Day, observed on August 7th each year in the United States, is a commemorative day established to honor the recipients of the Purple Heart medal and pay tribute to their sacrifices and service.

The Purple Heart medal itself is a military decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who have been wounded or killed in action while serving.

The eligibility criteria for receiving the Purple Heart are as follows:

  1. The individual must be a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, including the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
  2. The injury or death must have occurred as a result of enemy action or while engaged in armed conflict against an opposing enemy force.
  3. The injury must have been significant enough to require medical treatment by a military medical officer or to have caused death.
  4. The injury must have occurred during a period of war or in a combat zone during a military operation.

Presentation

On the suggestion of their chain of command, current active duty members are given the Purple Heart, detailing the injuries incurred and the action in which the service member was injured. An Army Brigade, Marine Corps Division, Air Force wing, Space Force delta, or Navy Task Force often bestows the Purple Heart.

While the Purple Heart is deemed automatic for all battle wounds, each award presentation must be evaluated to determine that the wounds incurred were the result of enemy action. Purple Heart presentations are now documented in both print and electronic service records.

The Purple Heart is annotated both with the service member’s parent command and at the military service department’s headquarters. The service member receives an original citation and award certificate, which are then entered in the field service record.

Most Purple Heart awards

it’s challenging to provide an exact number of Purple Heart awards since the number continuously changes due to ongoing military conflicts and new recipients.

The Purple Heart is an award that has been given since the American Revolutionary War, and it has been awarded to countless individuals for their injuries and sacrifices while serving in the U.S. military.

As of that time, it was estimated that several hundred thousand Purple Hearts had been awarded throughout the history of the United States.

However, the exact number of Purple Heart recipients can be challenging to ascertain due to various factors, including lost records, historical documentation challenges, and the classified nature of some military operations.

The Origins of the Purple Heart

The origins of the Purple Heart can be traced back to the American Revolutionary War. The award was originally known as the “Badge of Military Merit” and was established by General George Washington on August 7, 1782. At that time, the United States was fighting for independence from British rule, and George Washington was the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.

The Badge of Military Merit was created to recognize soldiers who demonstrated exceptional valor and meritorious service in combat. It was intended to honor individuals who displayed extraordinary bravery and dedication to the cause of freedom during the Revolutionary War.

The design of the Badge of Military Merit was unique for its time. It consisted of a purple, heart-shaped piece of cloth or fabric, and it was to be worn on the uniform or coat of the recipient. The color purple was chosen to symbolize courage and bravery, and the heart shape represented the love of the soldier’s country.

It’s important to note that the award was not widely given during the Revolutionary War. In fact, only three soldiers were known to have received the Badge of Military Merit during that period. These soldiers were Sergeant Elijah Churchill, Sergeant William Brown, and Sergeant Daniel Bissell.

After the Revolutionary War, the Badge of Military Merit fell into disuse, and it was not until many years later that the award was revived and redesigned as the modern-day Purple Heart. In 1932, on the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth, the United States War Department announced the reestablishment of the Purple Heart award.

The revived Purple Heart maintained the heart-shaped design and the color purple, but the medal itself was restructured to include a profile of George Washington in the center, with a coat of arms and a leafy cluster above his profile. The reverse side of the medal bears the inscription “For Military Merit.”

Today, the Purple Heart is one of the most recognized and respected military decorations in the United States. It is awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces who have been wounded or killed in action while serving their country, making it a symbol of courage, sacrifice, and valor.

The Revival and Redesign

The revival and redesign of the Purple Heart occurred in the early 20th century, more than 150 years after its original establishment as the “Badge of Military Merit” by General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. The reestablishment of the award as the modern-day Purple Heart is credited to General Douglas MacArthur, who was then serving as the Chief of Staff of the United States Army.

Here’s how the revival and redesign of the Purple Heart took place:

1. Initiation of the Campaign: In 1931, General Douglas MacArthur and Elizabeth Will, a representative of the Army’s Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps, embarked on a campaign to revive and redesign the Badge of Military Merit. They sought to reintroduce the award to honor soldiers wounded or killed in action during World War I.

2. Approval by the U.S. War Department: On February 22, 1932, on the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth, the U.S. War Department issued General Orders No. 3, announcing the reestablishment of the Purple Heart award. The new award would be presented to individuals who were wounded or killed in action while serving in the U.S. military.

3. Criteria and Design: The redesigned Purple Heart maintained the heart-shaped design and the color purple as a symbol of courage and sacrifice. The front of the medal features a profile of George Washington, just like the original Badge of Military Merit, but this time with a coat of arms and a leafy cluster above his profile. The reverse side bears the inscription “For Military Merit,” harkening back to its historical origins.

4. World War II and Beyond: During World War II and subsequent conflicts, the Purple Heart gained greater prominence as it was awarded to soldiers wounded or killed in action. Its significance grew, and it became one of the most respected and recognizable military decorations in the United States.

5. Expansion of Eligibility: Over the years, the criteria for receiving the Purple Heart were expanded to include injuries sustained in any armed conflict involving the United States, broadening its scope to cover various military operations and engagements worldwide.

Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria for receiving the Purple Heart in the United States are as follows:

1. Membership in the U.S. Armed Forces: To be eligible for the Purple Heart, the individual must be a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, which includes the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

2. Injury or Death in Action: The individual must have been wounded, injured, or killed in action while serving in the U.S. military. The injury or death must have resulted from enemy action or combat-related incidents.

3. Medical Treatment or Death: For a wounded service member to receive the Purple Heart, the injury must require medical treatment by a medical officer or authorized medical personnel. In the case of death, it must be the result of enemy action or combat while the individual was serving in the military.

4. Conflict and Military Operations: The Purple Heart is awarded for injuries sustained during a period of war or while engaged in combat against an opposing enemy force. It includes injuries sustained in all conflicts involving the U.S. military, such as World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan, the Iraq War, and other military operations.

It’s important to note that the Purple Heart can also be awarded posthumously to the families of service members who were killed in action and meet the eligibility criteria.

As with any military award, the actual determination of eligibility and the decision to award the Purple Heart is made by the appropriate military authorities based on the circumstances and evidence of the service member’s injury or death.

Expanding Eligibility

The eligibility criteria for the Purple Heart have gone through several expansions to encompass a broader range of military personnel and conflicts. Over the years, these expansions have aimed to recognize the sacrifices and valor of individuals serving in various capacities and conflicts.

Here are some key points in the history of expanding eligibility for the Purple Heart:

1. World War I: The Purple Heart was initially established in 1932, retroactively to cover wounds received during World War I. Therefore, individuals wounded in action during the First World War were also eligible for the award.

2. All U.S. Military Branches: In 1942, during World War II, the eligibility for the Purple Heart was expanded to include members of all U.S. military branches. Initially, it was only awarded to members of the Army, but this change allowed Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Army Air Corps (later Air Force) personnel to receive the award.

3. Posthumous Awards: In 1952, the eligibility was further expanded to allow posthumous awards of the Purple Heart to the families of service members killed in action. This change recognized the ultimate sacrifice made by those who lost their lives while serving their country.

4. Armed Conflicts and Military Operations: The Purple Heart has been awarded for injuries sustained in various armed conflicts and military operations involving the U.S. military. This includes the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan, the Iraq War, and many other engagements and operations.

5. Elimination of Time Limits: In 1985, the requirement for the Purple Heart to be awarded within a certain time limit of the injury was eliminated. This change ensured that injuries sustained by veterans in past conflicts could still be recognized, even if they occurred many years earlier.

6. Acts of Terrorism: In 1998, President Bill Clinton signed an executive order that expanded the eligibility for the Purple Heart to include injuries or deaths resulting from acts of terrorism against the United States or its allies.

How You Can Show Support National Purple Heart Day

Showing support on National Purple Heart Day is a meaningful way to honor the brave men and women who have received the Purple Heart medal for their sacrifices and service. Here are some ways you can demonstrate your support:

1. Attend Local Events: Participate in National Purple Heart Day events organized in your community. These events may include ceremonies, memorial services, parades, and gatherings to pay tribute to Purple Heart recipients.

2. Express Gratitude: Take the time to personally thank Purple Heart recipients you may know or encounter. A simple gesture of appreciation can mean a lot to them and their families.

3. Share Their Stories: Share stories of Purple Heart recipients on social media or through other channels. Amplify their experiences and bravery to inspire others and raise awareness of their sacrifices.

4. Donate to Veterans Organizations: Support organizations that provide assistance to wounded veterans and their families. Your contributions can help provide essential resources and services to those in need.

5. Volunteer: Volunteer your time and skills to support veterans’ causes. Many organizations need volunteers for various activities, from organizing events to helping veterans with job placement or mentorship.

6. Visit Veterans: If possible, visit wounded veterans in hospitals or rehabilitation centers. Spending time with them and showing your care can make a significant impact on their spirits.

7. Educate Others: Help educate others about the significance of National Purple Heart Day and the history of the Purple Heart medal. Promote awareness of the award and its meaning.

8. Wear Purple: On National Purple Heart Day, wear something purple to show solidarity and recognition of Purple Heart recipients.

9. Fly the Flag: Display the U.S. flag at your home or workplace to honor all veterans and show your support for those who have been wounded or killed in action.

10. Support Families: Extend your support to the families of Purple Heart recipients. Their sacrifice and resilience are also worth acknowledging and honoring.

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