By Becky Bechtel, NFRW Armed Services Committee
Purple Heart Day is observed each year on August 7th as a time for remembering those brave members of our United States military who were wounded on the battlefield or died. The Purple Heart Medal is the oldest medal awarded in the United States Military.
The Purple Heart is awarded for injuries that have been sustained because of an enemy attack in any of the circumstances listed below:
- In action against an enemy of the United States
- In action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or have been engaged
- While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party
- As the result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed force
- As the result of an act of any hostile foreign force
- As the result of friendly weapon fire while actively engaging the enemy
- As the indirect result of injuries resulting from parachuting from a plane brought down by hostile fire
- As the result of an international terrorist attack against the United States while serving with a peacekeeping force
- As the result of a domestic attack inspired by foreign terrorist organizations
Purple Heart Day is important because it makes all Americans aware of the sacrifices our military men and women have made to secure our freedom. There have been over 1.5 million recipients of the Purple Heart. Many of these recipients have had life-altering injuries. Captain Hailey Webster served as a Captain in the United States Army; in December of 2019, she was sleeping when an Iranian missile was fired and landed 25 feet from her military barracks in Iraq. Hailey suffered traumatic brain injuries and received a medical discharge from the Army. To help her and others who have suffered as a result of injuries, the Purple Heart Foundation has helped fund programs and services to help ease the transition from the battlefield to civilian life. Those services include academic scholarships, PTSD resources, service dogs, and Veterans Critical Assistance Grants.
This year, the Purple Heart Foundation will be hosting their first annual Purple Heart 5K in Alexandria, Virginia, on August 7. The proceeds from this run will fund all of the resources the foundation to help all recipients of the Purple Heart who need assistance now, and in the years to come.