An older man with clasped hands

 

Written by Jenny Goldade

 

Every August 7th, we observe National Purple Heart Day. On this day, we honor and remember those who were wounded or killed fighting for our country.

 

To honor these recipients of the Purple Heart military decoration, let’s discuss a brief history behind the Purple Heart and how you can honor them.

 

History Behind Purple Heart Day

The Purple Heart was originally designed as the Badge of Military Merit by George Washington in 1782 — who was the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army at the time, and he also presented the award to three Revolutionary War soldiers.

 

In 1931, it was redesigned as the Purple Heart and came out on the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birthday to honor him. They chose purple because it represents the blood of those who made sacrifices for our country, and the color also represents courage.

 

Originally, only those who were in the Army or Army Air Corps could receive the award. Now, anyone who was wounded or killed in the military can receive the award.

 

Purple Heart Recipients

Purple Heart recipients can join the Military Order of the Purple Heart, which formed in 1932 after the redesign of the award. The organization has more than 45,000 members and more than 1 million Purple Hearts have been given out.

 

A few notable Purple Heart recipients are John F. Kennedy, James Arness, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr., John McCain, and Cordelia E. Cook.

 

How to Honor Purple Heart Recipients

Throughout the country, many organizations and events pause to recognize the service and sacrifice of these heroes on National Purple Heart Day. For example, major league baseball teams honor Purple Heart recipients during pregame and 7th inning ceremonies.

 

Below are a few ways you can honor them this National Purple Heart Day:

  • Donate to the Purple Heart Foundation or volunteer your time.
  • Spend time with local veterans, listen to their stories, and thank them for their service.
  • Fly an American flag outside your home.
  • Place purple flowers on the gravesites of deceased recipients.
  • Wear purple to show your recognition for their sacrifices.
  • Simply take time to think about them and their dedication to our country.

Do you know someone who received a Purple Heart? Share their name in the comments to honor them this National Purple Heart Day.