Helping to Understand the History of The Purple Heart

The prestigious Purple Heart Award is the oldest award that is still being represented in the military today. This award began as the “Badge of Military Merit” in the year of 1782. George Washington found that it was important to honor the men that sacrificed their life or limb during service in the military. The award later became known as the “Purple Heart”. This award is often given to the families or next of kin. The Purple Heart is one of the awards that are given by the high-ranking officers in the name of the President of the United States. This honor is given to anyone that is killed in the line of duty on American soil or abroad. This award is also given to military personnel that suffers the injury while in active duty. The injury must be one that is under military medical care.

Giving Civilians Purple Hearts

In the past, the Purple Heart has been a symbol of honor given to the military. There have been instances where civilians were honored with the Purple Heart because of their involvement in the armed forces or being killed during war times. One instance is the Firemen that were killed while Pearl Harbor was being destroyed. In 1996, over 100 civilians received this award because of their injuries during terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia.

Giving Animals a Purple Heart Award

Animals that serve in the military such as military police dogs have also been recipients of this award. These dogs put their own lives at risk when they go inside dangerous war areas. They also put their lives at risk when they walk across areas of hidden bombs. The masters of these animals are the recipients of the awards when given.

The Description of the Award

The Purple Heart Award is a decoration that some will receive as recognition for duty. This award is given to someone that may receive an injury or someone that is killed in the line of duty while serving. The award is a bust of George Washington on Purple material. This is in the shape of a heart. The purple heart is surrounded by a gold heart trim. Sitting above the head of George Washington is the coat of arms and leaf sprays of green. The red and white shield of bars is made of two red bars and red stars of three.

On the back of the award is the engraving that says “For Military Merit”. This is located just below the leaves on the reverse side of the award. A ribbon that is 35 mm wide is made of stripes. The colors white, purple, then white make up the ribbon and the lapel pin is the same.

The Presentation of the Award

The Purple Heart is given during part of a prestigious ceremony because of a recommendation from an officer or someone else in service. During some wars, such as the Korean War or World War, the Purple Heart may have been awarded immediately. Because of poor record keeping, the award may not be recorded for some recipients from the 20th-century major wars. It was very common for some military personnel to receive the purple heart while in the hospital. Some families even received the award, many years later, in the mail. Receiving a Purple Heart Award is an honor that is bestowed upon hundreds and thousands of individuals since it became in existence as the Military Merit by George Washington. Today, this award is a symbol of service and the ultimate sacrifice of life or limb.