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Purple Heart Day!

Purple Heart Day!

Purple Hearts Day is on August 7th, commemorates the creation of the oldest  American military decoration for military merit. It honors the men and women who re of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. During the American Revolutionary War, the Badge for Military Merit decorated six known soldiers.

General George Washington created the Badge of Merit in 1782. Washington intended the honor to be presented to soldiers for “any singularly meritorious action.” Its design included a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk bound with a thin edge of silver. Across the face, the word Merit was embroidered in silver. While the badge symbolized the courage and and devotion of an American Patriot, no one knows who designed the award.

Purple Heart Firsts
  • The Badge of Military Merit replaced the Fidelity Medallion. At the time, William Brown and Elijah Churchill received the first honors with the Badge of Military Merit during the Revolutionary War.
  • Army General Douglas MacArthur received the first modern-day Purple Heart.
  • The first woman receives a Purple Heart. Following her actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Army Lt. Annie G. Fox received the Purple Heart during World War II.



Since 1932, Americans have celebrated Purple Heart Day on both Washington’s birthday and Valentine’s Day. Some states and cities observed the day in their own way at different times throughout the year. Each declaration encouraged citizens to support wounded veterans with the purchase of a purple viola.

No matter when the observance occurred, it recognized the men and women killed and wounded in combat and their heroic actions. As the day evolved, it more commonly was observed on the day of the Purple Heart’s creation, August 7, 1782.


About the Contributor
Abigail Holbert, Contributor