National Purple Heart Day in the United States Date in the current year: August 7, 2022

National Purple Heart Day in the United States National Purple Heart Day, also known as Purple Heart Day, Purple Heart Appreciation Day and Purple Heart Recognition Day, is observed in the United States every year. It is dedicated to a U.S. military decoration awarded to those who were wounded or killed while serving.

The Purple Heart is the oldest existing military award in the United States, if you take into account its forerunner, the Badge of Military Merit. The Badge of Military Merit was established by General George Washington on August 7, 1782. It was designed in the form of a purple heart and intended for non-commissioned officers and privates who exhibited extraordinary service.

According to historical documents, only four people were awarded the Badge of Military Merit: Sergeant William Brown, Sergeant Elijah Churchill, Sergeant Daniel Bissell, and Sergeant Louis Marney. After the American Revolutionary War, the award fell into disuse, but it was never officially abolished.

In 1927, General Charles Pelot Summerall suggested that the Badge of Military Merit be revived. Four years later, General Douglas MarArthur opened the work on a new design. Army heraldic specialist Elizabeth Will created a heart-shaped medal with George Washington’s bust and profile.

The new design was officially issued on February 22, 1932 to commemorate the bicentennial of Washington’s birth. The first Purple Heart was awarded to General MacArthur. The medal was originally awarded for meritorious service or for wounds received in action against the enemy, but in 1942, the practice of awarding the Purple Heart for meritorious performance of duty was discontinued.

The Purple Heart is currently awarded to any member of the U.S. Armed Forces who has been wounded or killed in action against an enemy or as a result of an act of an enemy. Injuries and wounds which do not qualify for the award include accidental wounding not caused by enemy action, accidental or intentional self-inflicted wounds, PTSD, etc.

From 1942 to 1997, non-military personnel closely affiliated or serving with the Armed Forces, such as Red Cross workers, firefighters or war correspondents, were eligible to receive the Purple Heart provided that they met the criteria. However, in 1997, the United States Congress prohibited awarding the Purple Heart to civilian employees of the Department of Defense and other non-military personnel.

The Purple Heart is supposed to be awarded for each wound, but the medal is given only for the first wound. For each subsequent wound or injury, oak leaf clusters (in the Army and Air Force) or 5/16 inch stars (in the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps) are worn in lieu of a new medal.

The inaugural Purple Heart Day was observed in 2014. It is not a public holiday, so government offices, educational establishments, businesses etc. remain open on this day. The day is marked with remembrance ceremonies, meetings, fundraisers, and other events in honor of those who were either wounded on the battlefield or sacrificed their lives while serving their country.

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Category

Anniversaries and Memorial Days

Country

USA

Tags

National Purple Heart Day in the United States, Purple Heart Day, Purple Heart Appreciation Day, Purple Heart Recognition Day, military obse