Purple Heart Day

My family has many Purple Heart awards…the most recent one was given to an uncle, one of my mother’s brothers, who was killed in action during the Vietnam War.
It’s not a medal that any family really wants – and no, it isn’t as easy as just being handed one…

Pacific Paratrooper

"Wounded Warrior" painting by: US Marine Michael Fay “Wounded Warrior” painting by: US Marine Michael Fay

On this date in 1782, in Newburgh, New York, General George Washington created the “Badge for Military Merit,” a decoration consisting of a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk, edged in silver, with the word Merit etched.  It was to be presented for any one meritorious action and it permitted the wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge.   The honoree’s name and regiment were to be inscribed in “The Book of Merit.”

Purple Heart certificate given during the Korean War

Purple Heart certificate given during the Korean War

Only three soldiers are known to have been awarded this medal during the Revolutionary War: Elijah Churchill, William Brown and Daniel Bissell Jr.  The Book of Merit was lost and the medal was virtually forgotten.  In 1927, General Charles Summerall  sent an unsuccessful draft bill to Congress to revive the Badge.

Patch for Afghanistan

Patch for Afghanistan

General Douglas MacArthur took up the cause…

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. GP Cox
    Aug 08, 2016 @ 10:39:37

    Thank you for helping to keep these memories alive.
    I am very sorry for your family’s loss.

    • sepultura13
      Aug 08, 2016 @ 10:43:25

      Thank you…I appreciate that. Also, thank you for the history behind Purple Heart Day – I don’t know that I’d been taught about it, before now.

    • sepultura13
      Aug 08, 2016 @ 10:44:14

      I’ll get to the Vietnam Memorial one of these days…I would like to find my uncle’s name and make a charcoal rubbing of it.

      • GP Cox
        Aug 08, 2016 @ 10:55:16

        I have so many old friends etched on that wall. I believe your uncle would like it if you did.

      • sepultura13
        Aug 08, 2016 @ 11:00:47

        I always wondered why I had a fascination with WWII and the Vietnam War as a child – I guess it was my relatives trying to tell me something, even though we were far apart.

        A friend of mine who served and did two tours in the ‘Nam passed in 2014, and his date of death is the same as my father’s date of birth (month and day, of course), which is an interesting coincidence. He was exposed to Agent Orange, which led to congestive heart failure…his smoking habit didn’t help. He was only 62 and we only knew each other for 10 years, but he was a close friend nonetheless.

        The next motorcycle trip I plan, I believe I will go to Washington D.C.
        I definitely want to find my uncle’s name and pay him tribute.

      • GP Cox
        Aug 08, 2016 @ 11:04:22

        I seriously think you will feel better for it. Bring a handkerchief or two….

      • sepultura13
        Aug 08, 2016 @ 11:36:09

        I plan on it, for sure…I know that it will be a very emotional, moving moment. Being reunited with family, even posthumously, is something that can’t be described.

      • GP Cox
        Aug 08, 2016 @ 11:37:38

        I know.

      • sepultura13
        Aug 08, 2016 @ 11:41:11

        ‘Family’ has multiple meanings…we definitely agree on that, I’d wager.

  2. maggie0019
    Aug 08, 2016 @ 15:35:45

    So sorry. Beautiful and touching post. Woof!

  3. saywhatumean2say
    Aug 09, 2016 @ 12:44:36

    My Father got one in WWII but I think he deserved two as he was wounded two times and came away with so much shrapnel left in his body….most was taken out…that he couldn’t have an MRI. I appreciate your reblog of GP’s great piece. ~~dru~~

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