National Purple Heart Day is celebrated annually on August 7 to honor U.S. servicemembers who were wounded or killed as a result of enemy action while serving in the military. The Purple Heart is the oldest active military medal in the United States, with more than 1.8 million medals awarded to men and women who sacrificed for our nation.
On Aug. 7, 1782, George Washington established the award, originally called the Badge of Military Merit, to commend soldiers who secured victories in battle. Continental Army soldiers William Brown and Elijah Churchill were the first soldiers to receive the Badge of Military Merit.
One of the first military awards that could be presented to enlisted soldiers and non-commissioned officers, the Badge of Military Merit was reinstated on Washington’s 200th birthday, Feb. 22, 1932, as the Purple Heart Medal and continues to be presented today to qualifying servicemembers.
Purple Heart Day was established in 2014 to honor and recognize those who have been awarded the decoration. The heart-shaped badge is purple because the color represents courage and bravery.
In honor of Purple Heart Day, HFOT would like to honor and recognize the members of our military who bravely sacrificed for our nation.