Purple Heart Day on August 12 is the kind of day created to give back. It’s a day for Americans to remember and honor the men and women who bravely represented their country and were wounded or killed whilst serving. These people are decorated with a Purple Heart in the name of the President, and this day is for remembering them and their sacrifice. Some states, counties, and cities pause in recognition, as do some sports and entertainment entities. Military and veteran organizations also hold meetings for remembrance. Join us as we honor those that have been given a Purple Heart.
History of Purple Heart Day
The original Purple Heart, designated as a Badge of Merit, was awarded by George Washington in 1782. There was a lack of funds in the Continental Army at the time so the award was a way to honor enlisted and deserving people. The honor is presented to soldiers for “any singularly meritorious action.” It was designed with a piece of silk bound through it with a thin edge of silver. Washington only gave out three of the badges himself, and instead authorized subordinates to issue the badges as they saw fit.
The Badge of Merit faded from use but was revived and relaunched in 1932, this time as the Purple Heart. As well as honoring those wounded in combat, this iteration of the Purple Heart recognized commendable action. It was in 1944 that the policy was tweaked slightly and the Purple Heart was given the purpose we know it for today, specifically to honor those who have been wounded or died.
The first service member to be given the modern Purple Heart was General Douglas MacArthur for his service in the Pacific theater during World War II. In total there have been 1.8 million Purple Hearts awarded over the years.
Purple Heart Day was first observed in 2014 and has been observed every year since. It’s a chance to reflect on the bravery of those who have fought for the U.S. and to ensure that their courage is never forgotten.
Purple Heart Day timeline
Purple Heart Day is first established.
This year, the Purple Heart Recipients are able to join the newly formed Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH).
- February 1932
The award was forgotten about until now on George Washington’s 200th birthday.
Gifts from George
George Washington creates the Purple Heart award to commend soldiers.
Purple Heart Day FAQs
Is there a list of Purple Heart recipients?
There is no known list of names of all recipients in existence.
Why is the Purple Heart purple?
The color is meant to represent bravery. The Purple Heart is in fact the oldest military decoration still presented to service members. The award was always meant to be ‘‘a figure of a heart in purple cloth or silk edged with narrow lace or binding.”
How much is a purple heart worth?
Purple Hearts sell for $30 at a military base. Really, they are meant for recipients simply looking for a replacement, but sellers do not often ask for proof of eligibility.
How to Observe Purple Heart Day
Donate to the MOPH
This is a great time to donate to the Military Order of the Purple Heart. You can pay your respects by aiding those who bore the burden of battle. You can also support wounded veterans by buying a purple heart.
Learn more about the military
Educate yourself on the military and what they do. Read the stories of people who have been in a battle to understand why the Purple Heart awards are so important.
Use #PurpleHeartDay online
If you have a family member or friend who served for the U.S. and has a Purple Heart share their story with #PurpleHeartDay on Twitter and Instagram.
5 Facts About Purple Heart Day
An unknown soldier from Michigan who served in Afghanistan pawned his purple heart for cash.
A million hearts
1.8 Million Purple Hearts have been handed out since 1932.
Join the club
In total there are 45,000 members of the MOPH today.
An accurate list of names who were awarded Purple Hearts no longer exists.
Ladies and Gentlemen…
A female lieutenant, Annie G.Fox received a Purple Heart during World War II for her work on Pearl Harbor.
Why Purple Heart Day is Important
It recognizes sacrifice
The Purple Heart recognizes the sacrifice made by soldiers who were willing to put their lives on the line for their country. These brave soldiers deserve to be remembered throughout history.
It is important to remember our history and how we ended up where we are today. Purple Heart Day affords us the opportunity for reflection on everything that has gone before us.
Nobody is forgotten
This day is for remembering everyone who was ever wounded or killed representing the U.S. It means nobody is forgotten and the memory lives on.
Purple Heart Day dates