On August 7th, Purple Heart Day commemorates the creation of the oldest American military decoration for military merit, the Purple Heart and honors the men and women who are of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
General George Washington created the Purple Heart in 1782 to be presented to soldiers for “any singularly meritorious action”, the decoration was a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk bound with a thin edge of silver and the word Merit embroidered in silver across the face.
It is unknown who designed the Badge of Merit. It is also unknown how many soldiers may have received the honor symbolizing the courage and devotion of an American Patriot. According to The Badge of Military Merit by Professor Ray Raymond, The “Book of Merit” where the names of possible recipients and their deeds were recorded has long been missing. According to the Badge of Military Merit by Professor Ray Raymond,
Until Washington’s 200th birthday, the Purple Heart remained a Revolutionary War footnote. Through the efforts of General Douglas MacArthur, the U.S. War Department created the Order of the Purple Heart. Today the medal bears a bust of George Washington and his coat of arms.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Honor everyone you know that has received a Purple Heart. Learn more about the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Use #PurpleHeartDay to post on social media and inform others to do so as well.
Since 1932, Purple Heart Day has been celebrated on various days. Sometimes commemorated on Washington’s birthday, other times on Valentine’s Day or at other times declared during the year in different cities and states across the country. Each declaration encouraged citizens to support wounded veterans with the purchase of a purple viola. Purple Heart Day recognizes not only the merit but more importantly the men and women killed and wounded in combat who have earned the badge of honor. As the day evolved it more commonly was observed on the day the Purple Heart was created.