The purple heart is a simple symbol but its underlying meaning runs deep. Every year on Aug. 7 the purple heart medal is presented to military men and women who were injured or killed while serving the United States, to honor their service and sacrifice.
For the 236th anniversary of Purple Heart Day, President Donald Trump released a statement to commemorate members of the armed forces and recognize their bravery “for serving as the vanguard of American democracy and freedom around the world.”
Today, on the 236th anniversary of the Purple Heart, we honor the members of our Armed Forces for serving as the vanguard of American democracy and freedom around the world. #PurpleHeartDay https://t.co/NghmQ4BOKh
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2018
“Their devotion to duty and love for this country ensure each new generation may enjoy the blessings of liberty, peace, and prosperity,” President Trump said.
“They endure tremendous sacrifices, bear the greatest burdens of every loss, and instill in each of us enduring love and respect.”
Purple Heart Day is the oldest holiday observed in the United States and it dates back to 1782. The original purple heart medal—the Badge of Military Merit—was established by General George Washington. It was a decoration made of a simple, heart-shaped purple cloth awarded to recognize soldiers who went above and beyond the call of duty in service. However, it was only awarded to three soldiers at the time.
It was not until 1932 when the medal received more prominence and evolved into today’s more recognizable and distinguished medal—the purple heart, according to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.
Trump said the heart symbolizes the noble values of patriotism, honor, and courage, which are hallmarks of the U.S. armed forces.
“In every generation, the Purple Heart has been awarded to American service members in recognition of their devotion to duty and sacrifice on the battlefield,” he said in his statement. “Some recipients have lost their lives in the defense of our great Nation, while others have suffered life-changing injuries while safeguarding our liberty.”
According to the hall of honor, there has been an estimated 1.8 million purple heart medals awarded since 1932. However due to inconsistent record-keeping the number of recipients could be higher.
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