From the NFRW Armed Services Committee
Each year on August 7, our nation recognizes the men and women who are known as Purple Heart recipients. This day is a chance for everyone to reflect on the bravery of those who have fought for the U.S. and to ensure that their courage is never forgotten.
The Purple Heart, one of the oldest military decorations, is presented to service members who were injured or killed while in service to our country. Some ask whether it is an honor to get a Purple Heart. No, it isn’t an honor but a recognition that a service member was wounded or killed as a result of enemy action. The Purple Heart is a solemn distinction and signifies a service member sacrificed themselves or paid the ultimate price. The Purple Heat truly signifies that “Freedom isn’t Free.”
The Purple Heart was originally the Badge of Merit awarded by General George Washington to enlisted soldiers who had performed a “singularly meritorious action.” He only gave out three medals and then left it up to subordinate leaders. In 1932, the Badge of Merit was changed and relaunched as the Purple Heart. In 1944 it was “tweaked” and became what we know it as today -- honoring our wounded or those who died as a result of enemy action. Approximately 1.8 million Purple Hearts have been awarded over the years.
Here are ways to celebrate National Purple Heart Day:
- Fly the American Flag.
- See if your area is recognizing these service members and attend the ceremony.
- Listen to veterans and hear their stories.
- Read For Military Merit: Recipients of the Purple Heart, by Fred L. Borch, or Purple Heart, by Patricia McCormick.
- Watch a documentary such as Purple Heart Warriors: Tears of a Warrior, by Tony Seahorn.
- Visit a military museum.
- Contribute to organizations like Wounded Warrior Project, Disabled American Veterans or Tunnels 2 Towers.