By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 7 has been designated as National Purple Heart Day to honor all combat veterans wounded or killed in action for their acts of bravery. The day has been established to never forget the sacrifices that were made for all.
Local Purple Heart chapters 612 of Denison, 744 of Gainesville and 768 from Denton will meet today at the free senior citizens breakfast in the bingo hall at WinStar World Casino. WinStar does not sponsor the meeting but provides a venue for the group. In addition, WinStar playing cards are collected and distributed to the VA hospitals and military installations around Texas.
“This a day in which we honor those who honored us with their sacrifice and courage, “ Commander of Chapter 744 Fred Rosenbam said/
Various ceremonies commemorating National Purple Heart Day will also be held in various parts of the country including New York City where the Empire State Building will be lit up purple for this day.
The Purple Heart was originally known as the Badge of Military Merit and was first given out in the Revolutionary War by General George Washington to three noncommissioned officers.
The badge disappeared for about 150 years but in 1928 President Herbert Hoover decided to honor the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth and instructed General Douglas MacArthur with the task of reintroducing the Badge of Military Merit.
Elizabeth Will, an Army heraldic specialist, was named to redesign the revived metal which became known as the Purple Heart. It consists of a purple enameled heart with a bronze border showing a reliefe profile of George Washington in continental uniform. The family coat of arms of Washington’s family adorns the medal along with an inscription inside the heart that reads “For Military Merit.”
MacArthur decided that those wounded or killed in the line of duty were worthy of an award of merit so he altered the criteria to include the combat wounded and made the honor retroactive to Word War I.
In addition to National Purple Heart Day, a Purple Heart Trail was established in 1992 by the Military Order of the Purple Heart to be a symbolic trail to commemorate and honor all Purple Heart recipients.
The Texas portion of the Trail begins in Gainesville on the Red River and ends at Larado on the Rio Grande. It was designated and made official by acts of the 79th Texas Legislature in 2004. Signs along the highway identify this designation.
Two other segments were added to the Texas Purple Heart Trail by Governor Perry in 2011 where I-40 crosses the Texas Panhandle and a portion of highway between San Antonio and South Padre Island were added.
I-40 also spans the nation from North Carolina to California and all states along that route have previously designated their segments of I-40 as part of the Purple Heart Trail.
As a symbolic sign of our country’s finest, the Purple Heart Trail is now coast-to-coast across all 50 states including Puerto Rico and Guam.
By CATHY MOUNCE
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