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Purple Heart Day 2021: Honoring Our Nation’s Heroes

Purple Heart Day, on August 7th, commemorates the creation of the oldest American military decoration for military merit. The Purple Heart honors the men and women who are of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

Purple Heart Day in 2021 falls on August 7, and it’s a great day to take a second to appreciate the sacrifices made by members of our nation’s military. Let’s take a closer look at the origins of the holiday and how you can celebrate respectfully.

What is a Purple Heart?

The Purple Heart medal is designated for service members who have been given their lives or wounded by enemy action while serving in the United States military. Civilians can’t receive the Purple Heart medal—it’s only for those who have experienced combat or been held as a prisoner of war.

President George Washington created the Badge of Military Merit back in 1782, which is thought of as the Purple Heart’s predecessor. The original Badge of Military Merit was a cloth purple heart, which earned its current look and title in 1932. General Douglas MacArthur is responsible for the update and the current Purple Heart medal, which features George Washington’s likeness.

Purple Heart Day is celebrated each year as a dedication to the service members who gave their lives or sustained serious injury in the line of duty. 

How should I show respect for Purple Heart Day?

There are many ways to show respect and be supportive on this somber holiday. Here are a few ideas to inspire your day.

Learn About the Purple Heart

One great way to connect to the meaning of the holiday is simply to learn more about the history of the Purple Heart medal and who has received it throughout history. Showing interest in the rich and storied past of the Purple Heart helps to preserve the meaning of the day. 

You may choose to read up on the medal’s history, read stories about Purple Heart recipients, or simply learn more about the U.S. military and its function over time. The more you know, the more you’ll connect to the intention of Purple Heart Day.

Support Your Local Veterans

Purple Heart Day is a meaningful time to get in touch with your local veterans and show support. You can choose to go through a local organization, like VFW (The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S.) or the Department of Veteran Affairs. You may find that these organizations are already hosting Purple Heart Day events that you can attend or support from afar. If not, they’ll be able to connect you with options for giving back on Purple Heart Day. 

Take a Moment to Reflect

If you’d rather take a quiet personal moment to commemorate Purple Heart Day, you can always set aside a few minutes to just sit and reflect on the day and its meaning. You may think about your appreciation for the sacrifice that Purple Heart recipients made for their country or about the struggles that recipients and their families face on a daily basis.

As we near August 7th, we hope these suggestions help plan your own observation of the day. If you learn something new, make sure to share it with others in your life to help spread the word about Purple Heart Day for years to come.

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