August 7 is the anniversary of the creation of the military medal, the Order of the Purple Heart. It was created by President George Washington in 1782. This makes August 7 the perfect day to learn these top five facts about the Purple Heart.
The Purple Heart Was Not Originally Called the Purple Heart
Although it is said that George Washington was the created of the Purple Heart Medal, this is not exactly true. Washington created a military award known as the Badge of Military Merit. It so happened that this military award was purple (Sterner).
The Order of the Purple Heart Was a Revival
The Purple Heart Medal wasn’t created until 200 years after Washington’s birth. It was when the celebration of his bicentennial was being planned that his Executive Order of August 7, 1782 establishing the Badge of Military Merit was found. General Summerall tried to revive it, but the bill did not receive much support. When General Douglas set to work making this military medal available, he succeeded and the Purple Heart became a reality (Sterner).
The Purple Heart Is the Second Oldest Military Medal
Since the Order of the Purple Heart is probably the most respected military medal, some think it is the oldest military medal. It is probably the oldest military award that is still in existence. However, there is an obsolete military award known as the Fidelity Medallion (NationMaster).
The Purple Heart Medal Is Not Earned by Merit
Unlike other military medals, the Purple Heart is not earned by merit. Instead, it is earned when a person is wounded in battle. The wound must require treatment by a physician. It also must be obtained by the enemy. The Order of the Purple Heart recognizes sacrifice (NationMaster).
The Order of the Purple Heart Is Low in Ranking, but High in Respect
A Purple Heart is low in the ranking of military medals. It ranks even below the military award of a bronze star. However, the Purple Heart Medal is high in respect. It is so highly respected because it represents sacrifice. It is known that if a person received a Purple Heart, they sacrificed themselves in some way for their country (Sterner).
NationMaster – Encyclopedia: Purple Heart. (n.d.). NationMaster – World Statistics, Country Comparisons. Retrieved July 31, 2012, from http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Purple-Heart
Sterner, C. D. (n.d.). The Purple Heart – Our First Military Medal. Home Of Heroes Home Page. Retrieved July 31, 2012, from http://www.homeofheroes.com/medals/purple_heart/purple_heart.html