Purple Heart Day- Anniversary of a Medal
People often think that a Purple Heart isn’t an important medal to be awarded. There is a bit of history behind it that belies that false idea. In an article by Danielle DeSimone at the USO, the story behind the medal sheds some light on its history. Today, August 7, is Purple Heart Day.
The first predecessor to the modern Purple Heart was an award called the “Fidelity Medallion.” It was awarded to only 3 soldiers in 1780, and never given again.
By 1782, President George Washington created the “Badge of Military Merit.”
“According to Washington, who designed the badge in the form of a cloth purple heart, the medal would be given to soldiers who displayed ‘not only instances of unusual gallantry in battle, but also extraordinary fidelity and essential service in any way.'”Danielle DeSimone at USO
At the time, most military awards were only given to officers who won battles. The Purple Heart was created for all, including enlisted and lower ranking service members.
During the Revolutionary War, two men received the Badge of Military Merit: Continental Army soldiers William Brown and Elijah Churchill.
The Purple Heart became what it is today in 1932, largely due to Army General Douglas MacArthur, who worked with a heraldry specialist to come up with the modern design. He is also the first to receive the modern award for his actions in the Philippines.
In 1944, the Purple Heart criteria was changed to be given only to those who were wounded or killed in battle.
Besides General Lewis B. Puller (aka Chesty), there are a host of other familiar names that received the Purple Heart: James Arness, Charles Bronson, James Garner, Rod Serling. Only one President has received the Purple Heart- John F Kennedy.
Army Nurse Lt. Annie G. Fox was the first woman to receive the medal for her heroic actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor. She kept calm and kept her hospital running to tend to victims in spite of what was happening around her.
Though the left loves to shower hate on the first President, he was the Commander-in-Chief, and the winning of the Revolutionary War is on his resume. Since 1782, there have been at least 1.8 million Purple Hearts given to service members.
“Though the medal’s name has evolved since the Revolutionary War, its legacy of heroism remains steadfast. A Purple Heart on the chest of an American continues to be a symbol of the solemn price of our Nation’s liberty and peace.
Melania joins me in honoring all of our country’s Purple Heart recipients, their loved ones, and our Gold Star Families for their immeasurable sacrifice. These American patriots represent the unyielding and unmatched strength and determination of the United States Armed Forces, and we are forever grateful for their devotion to duty and love of country.President Donald J Trump, 8-7-2019
Featured photo: US Marine Corps and History.com