The original 'Purple Heart' - Badge of Military Merit - was awarded by George Washington on August 7, 1782 - 225 years ago. He had been awarding promotions based on merit, but the Continental Congress ordered him to stop, as there were no funds to pay the increase in rank. General Washington developed the Badge of Military Merit - the first award given to the enlisted soldier. It was a heart of purple cloth embroidered with the word MERIT.
"The General, ever desirous to cherish virtuous ambition in his soldiers as well as 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 his 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 due reward. The name and regiment of the persons so certified are to be enrolled in a Book of Merit which shall be kept in the orderly room." The order further states: "Men who have merited this distinction to be suffered to pass all guards and sentinels which officers are permitted to do. The order to be retroactive to the earliest stages of the war, and to be a permanent one." Washington ended his order with: "The road to glory in a patriot army and a free country is thus open to all."
To honor the 75th Anniversary of the PURPLE HEART, the United States Post Office issued this stamp on August 7, 2007. It is also the 225th Anniversary of the Military Badge of Merit.
An artist has mowed an 850,000-square-foot rendering of a Purple Heart medal into a park field to honor the 75th anniversary of the medal that commends servicemembers killed or wounded in action. The rendering, to be unveiled Sunday in Thomas Bull Memorial Park in Hamptonburgh, 55 miles northwest of New York City, was done by field artist and painter Roger Baker.
An organization now known as the "Military Order of the Purple Heart," was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all who have received the decoration. Composed exclusively of Purple Heart recipients, it is the only veterans service organization comprised strictly of "combat" veterans. It also has a Women's Auxillary and Associate memberships for family members of recipients. http://www.purpleheart.org/
The Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New York's Hudson River Valley at the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site. Its mission is to collect and preserve the stories of Purple Heart recipients from all branches of the service and across the generations in an attempt to ensure that all recipients are represented. Their stories will be preserved and shared through exhibits, live and videotaped interviews with the veterans themselves, and the Roll of Honor, an interactive computer program preserving the stories of each individual. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor the first in the nation to recognize the more than 800,000 Americans wounded or killed in action while serving in the United States Military. For more information or to have your story preserved as a Purple Heart recipient, please visit the website at http://www.thepurpleheart.com/. If you wish to write or call: The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, PO Box 207, 374 Temple Hill Road, Vails Gate, New York 12584-0207. Phone: 845-561-1765; 877-28H-ONOR (284-6667). FAX: 845- 561- 6577