Eight Facts about the Purple Heart

On February 22, 1932, by Executive Order of the President of the United States, the Purple Heart was revived. The original Purple Heart was established by George Washington-then the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army-on August 7, 1782. The Badge of Military Merit was only awarded to three Revolutionary War Soldiers. Although never abolished, the award of the badge was not proposed again officially until after World War I.

The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917.

purple heart

Eight facts about the Purple Heart:

1) Until 1931, the Purple Heart was known as the Badge of Military Merit.

2) The three words inscribed on the reverse side of the Purple Heart are “For Military Merit.”

3) Per surviving records, Sergeant Elijah Churchill Sergeant William Brown and Sergeant Daniel Bissell, Jr. are the three noncommissioned officers who received the original honor badge (Purple Heart).

4) In 1931 Miss Elizabeth Will, an Army heraldic specialist in the Office of the Quartermaster General, was named to redesign the newly revive medal.

5) After its disuse following the Revolution, the Purple Heart was revived on the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth (the original creator of the medal).

6) On December 3, 1942 President Franklin D. Roosevelt extended the use of the Purple Heart to all services.

7) The Purple Heart is ranked immediately behind the Bronze Star in order of precedence among the personal awards.

8) The Purple Heart is the oldest military award that is still given to members of the U.S. military and differs from all other decorations in that an individual is not “recommended” for the decoration; rather he or she is entitled to it upon meeting specific criteria.

For more information about the Purple Heart, visit http://www.history.army.mil/html/reference/purhrt.html

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Eight Facts about the Purple Heart