Andy Dean Photography
In 2019, Governor Tom Wolf declared Purple Heart Day in Pennsylvania.
“Through our nation’s history, Pennsylvanians have selflessly fought to preserve our freedom and protect our borders. Most have safely come home, while others have either fallen or were wounded. This is an elite group of heroes who deserves their own special day of recognition where we can all honor their bravery and incredible sacrifice,” said Wolf.
General George Washington initially introduced the Purple Heart on August 7, 1782, as the Badge of Military Merit.
Originally, the award recognized the meritorious service of soldiers in lower ranks. According to the Army, only three soldiers received the Badge of Military Merit: Sergeant Elijah Churchill, William Brown, and Sergeant Daniel Bissell, Jr.
The government would not present the award again until 1932 when the War Department announced a new design and qualifications needed to receive the medal.
It was ten years later when the award was offered to branches other than the Army and another ten years for those service members of World War I to be recognized as recipients.
Today there have been approximately 1.8 million purple hearts presented to service members according to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.