Purple Heart Day

MeritBadge

Badge awarded to Sgt. Elijah Churchill on May 3rd, 1783 (source)

The Badge of Military Merit, which would later be succeeded by the Purple Heart Medal in 1932, was created by General George Washington on August 7th, 1782.  While armies in Europe had traditionally awarded medals only to officers in the military’s upper ranks, General Washington sought a way in which to honor the bravery and service of America’s common soldiers.  As he wrote on that day:

“The General ever desirous to cherish virtuous ambition in his soldiers, as well as to foster and encourage every species of Military merit, directs that whenever any singularly meritorious action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear on his facings over the left breast, the figure of a heart in purple cloth, or silk, edged with narrow lace or binding.  Not only instances of unusual gallantry, but also of extraordinary fidelity and essential service in any way shall meet with a due reward.  Before this favour can be conferred on any man, the particular fact, or facts, on which it is to be grounded must be set forth to the Commander in chief accompanied with certificates from the Commanding officers of the regiment and brigade to which the Candadate for reward belonged, or other incontestable proofs, and upon granting it, the name and regiment of the person with the action so certified are to be enrolled in the book of merit which will be kept at the orderly office.  Men who have merited this last distinction to be suffered to pass all guards and sentinals which officers are permitted to do.  The road to glory in a patriot army and a free country is thus open to all.  This order is also to have retrospect to the earliest stages of the war, and to be considered as a permanent one.”

You can learn more about the Merit Badge and Purple Heart here and here.

Purple_Heart_Medal

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s