Sunday, August 7 is Purple Heart Appreciation Day

Tom Hinde

Our nation's highest military decoration is the Medal of Honor. Our nation's oldest military decoration is the Purple Heart. It began as the Badge of Military Merit and was designed and first issued by George Washington in 1782. Only three of the original cloth-and-silk Badges of Merit are known to exist.

In 1932, on the bicentennial of Washington's birth, Gen. Douglas MacArthur revived it. Today, the medal features the bust of Washington and his coat of arms. It's awarded to service members killed or wounded by enemy action. Nearly two million Purple Hearts have been awarded since 1932.

To enroll names in the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor, N.Y., please call 1-877-28HONOR or visit