National Purple Heart Day!
August 7, 2023
An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 7 of August, repeating indefinitely
Today is National Purple Heart Day! On this day in 1782, George Washington ordered the creation of the Badge of Military Merit, the direct predecessor to the Purple Heart. It is the oldest American military award still presented to service members. 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸
Washington was motivated to honor the bravery of common soldiers – at the time, European countries reserved military merits for high-ranking officers. The Badge of Military Merit could be awarded to low-ranking and non-commissioned officers that had performed “not only instances of unusual gallantry in battle, but also extraordinary fidelity and essential service in any way.”
After the Revolution, the Badge fell into disuse until after World War I. In 1932, it was officially revived as the Purple Heart on February 22, 1932 (Washington’s 200th birthday). Today, the award is restricted to soldiers who have been injured or killed by enemy forces.
Did you know? The Merit’s original design, lending to its future name and design, was the “Figure of a Heart in Purple Cloth or Silk edged with narrow Lace or Binding.” 💜 💜 💜
Famous recipients of the medal include Charles Bronson, Kurt Vonnegut, and John F. Kennedy (the only president to have received it).
Portrait of George Washington, Rembrandt Peale, c. 1850