Purple Heart Day is observed on August 7 each year and is a time for Americans to pause to remember and honor the brave men and women who were either wounded on the battlefield or paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. Nearly 1.9 million service members have earned Purple Hearts since its creation. General George Washington created the Badge of Military Merit in 1782 as a way to honor enlisted men deserving of recognition. General Douglas MacArthur changed its name to the Purple Heart in 1932 when he was Chief of Staff of the Army. He expanded its scope to include receiving wounds as a result of enemy action.
I did not get wounded in Vietnam, though I witnessed my share of the horror of war. My most troubling assignment was to visit the freshly wounded soldiers carried into the MASH ward. It was a shocking experience and contributes to my PTSD when I think about it. I have assisted some of our Korean and Vietnam CIB Vets with their VA Service-Connected claims in which they have retold what they witnessed or experienced. Unbelievable stories of bravery and war wound descriptions that leave profound, vivid images etched in my memory. Many combat warriors will tell you that they are not heroes – they are survivors.
At 12 noon this Friday, pause whatever you are doing and observe a minute of silence in honor of our Purple Heart Veterans. I salute you.
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