Today is Purple Heart Day, a day we set aside to remember and honor those who’ve received the Purple Heart for being wounded or killed in combat. The award is one of the most prestigious that a member of the military can receive, as it indicates a level of danger and sacrifice that not all experience.
The Purple Heart is also the oldest military award, introduced first by General George Washington as the “Badge of Military Merit” in 1782, though it fell out of use until the 1930s. Washington knew the importance of recognizing the wounds of war, as did those who reintroduced the award after the first World War. Today we view it as one of the highest symbols of bravery and dedication to the country.
The award’s simple design yet rich history speaks volumes about its significance and recipients. It indicates a quiet resolve to put oneself in harm’s way, whatever the cost may be. But that quiet resolve applies to an estimated 1.8 million recipients in less than 100 years of being actively awarded, so it also demonstrates that the United States is never short on men and women who’re willing to defend her.
Thank you to those Purple Heart recipients who’ve given of their time, body, and even their lives to defend freedom.