Purple Heart Day is observed on August 7th, to honor the invention of the oldest American military decoration for military merit. The badge was created for six known soldiers for Military merit during the American Revolution.
General George Washington introduced the Badge of Merit on August 7 1782. He wanted to honor soldiers for “any singularly meritorious action. The modern medal has a Purple Heart shaped piece of silk bound and an edge of silver. Around the face, the word Merit was embroidered in silver. The badge represents the devotion and courage of an American Patriot. It is unknown who designed the award.
Intriguing Purple Heart Day Facts That You May Not Know
Here are some of the important facts about the Purple Heart in honor of the day.
Who Started Purple Heart Day?
- A. Benedict Arnold
- B. Charles Lee
- C. Douglas MacArthur
- D. Thomas Gage
National Purple Heart Day is celebrated to honor and remember those soldiers who were wounded by an instrument of war or those who sacrificed their lives on the battlefields.
National Purple Heart Day is considered one of the oldest military awards. It is one of the first awards to enlisted soldiers or non-commissioned magistrates.
Over 1.8 million Purple Heart medals have been presented to soldiers or service members since the award was re-established in 1932, according to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.
Why is it called the Purple Heart? The Purple Heart award was originally known as the Badge of Military Merit to honor soldiers for any commendable action. At that time, it was awarded to a few soldiers and they forgot about the award. Hence, the medal was reinstated in February 1932 on Washington’s 200th birthday.
The Purple Heart medal officially received its modern look and name in 1932 by Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur. The medal was originally designed as a combat decoration, presented for those wounded or killed in battles. The badge included a white ribbon with an embroidered heart-shaped violet cloth design. Later, MacArthur decided to change the name and wanted to refresh the look. So he worked with the Washington Commission of Fine Arts and Elizabeth Will, a specialist in the Army’s Office of the Quartermaster General.
William Brown and Elijah Churchill were the first Continental Army soldiers to receive the Badge of Military Merit during the Revolutionary War. They were the predecessor of the Purple Heart. Brown received the award for his contribution during the Siege of Yorktown while Churchill was honored with the badge for his service at a battle near Fort St. George on Long Island.
Army Gen was the first service member to receive the modern-day Purple Heart.
Army Lt. Annie G. Fox made history by becoming the first woman to receive the Purple Heart in 1942. She was honored for her heroic actions in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
The 35th president of the United States John F. Kennedy was the only US president to be honored with a Purple Heart. He served in the Navy during World War II.
Purple Heart Medal Qualifications
According to the Army’s current regulations, if a soldier is injured by an enemy attack and receives documented treatment from a medical officer will be honored with the Purple Heart.
Celebrities who received Purple Hearts were Kurt Vonnegut, Oliver Stone, Pat Tillman, Charles Bronson and more.
A horse called Sgt. Reckless and a dog Sgt. Stubby also received Purple Hearts.
Curry Haynes was known for earning 10 Purple Hearts, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War.