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Purple Heart Day is here to pay honor and respect to the recipients of this medal who have been wounded or lost their lives in service of the US military. 

History of Purple Heart Day

While the day is a more recent event, the history behind the Purple Heart can be traced back to 1782 when US President George Washington created the Badge of Merit as an honor to be presented to any soldier who made any “singular meritorious action”. Prior to this time, medals of honor were typically only given to officers who won grand victories in battle.

Though this Badge of Merit fell away from use in the 19th century, it was brought back in 1932, this time in the form of the Purple Heart. Because he was the original founder of the badge, George Washington’s profile still graces the medal, wearing a continental army uniform inside an enamel purple heart with a border of bronze. The Purple Heart medal hangs from a purple ribbon made of silk with a white stripe on the edge.

By 1944, on the heels of World War II, the function of these medals changed a bit and now they are typically awarded to those soldiers who were wounded in battle or to the next of kin of those who were killed in battle. General Douglas MacArthur was the first service member to be awarded the modern version of the Purple Heart in recognition of his service during World War II. Since then, there have been more than 1.8 million of these medals awarded to deserving military personnel. 

Purple Heart Day was first celebrated in 2014 with the purpose of reflecting on the courage of all of those who have fought for their nation, with the assurance that their bravery will not be forgotten.

How to Celebrate Purple Heart Day

Consider a wide range of different ways it is possible to join in on National Purple Heart Day, including some of these activities:

Thank a Veteran

Show some deep appreciation for the service men and women in the area by thanking friends, family members, coworkers and others who have served in the United States military. Even those who were not wounded or who have not received a Purple Heart still deserve to be shown gratitude for their service to the country and protection of freedoms.

Visit the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor

Head over to Hudson River Valley in New York to take a fascinating journey through military history at the newly expanded National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. This important hall is located north of West Point, near the location where the first Badge of Military Merit was awarded by George Washinton in 1782.

Every recipient of the Purple Heart medal takes a different path, and visitors to the museum are offered the opportunity to follow the journey of featured recipients in the galleries of the museum.

Join the National Purple Heart Honor Mission

Those who are interested in getting more involved with Purple Heart Day might want to connect through this non-profit organization, whether making a donation, signing up for emails and notifications or getting connected in other ways. The National Purple Heart Honor Mission is a great way to show support and make a difference in the lives of those service men and women and their families who have been honored with the Purple Heart.

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