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On August 7th, our Nation will recognize Purple Heart Day.

It is a time for us to remember and honor the brave men and women who were either wounded on the battlefield or paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Purple Heart Facts

  • Sergeant Elijah Churchill and Sergeant Daniel Brown were the first to receive the Badge of Military Merit during the Revolutionary War
  • Army General Douglas MacArthur received the first modern-day Purple Heart.
  • Army Lt. Annie G. Fox was the first female to receive the receive the Purple Heart for combat. She served as the chief nurse in the Army Nurse Corps at Hickam Field during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941.
  • Curry T. Haynes currently holds the record for the largest number of Purple Hearts (10) bestowed upon a single service member.

History of The Purple Heart

The Purple Heart began as what was called the Badge of Military Merit. General George Washington created the Badge of Merit in 1782. Washington intended the honor to be presented to soldiers for “any singularly meritorious action.” Its design included a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk bound with a thin edge of silver. Across the face, the word Merit was embroidered in silver. Only a handful of these were awarded, and following the American Revolution, the Badge of Military Merit didn’t become a permanent fixture among the various other awards and decorations given to those who serve.
In 1932, the Purple Heart award was created to honor the bicentennial of George Washington’s birthday. The Purple Heart took many years to evolve into what it is known as today. World War II saw the Purple Heart change from an award for meritorious service to one honoring those who were wounded or killed in combat. Criteria for receiving a Purple Heart has also changed over the years. Currently, the Purple Heart, is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after April 5, 1917 has been wounded, killed, or has died after being wounded by enemy action.