The history of Purple Heart Day goes back to the Revolutionary War. At the time known as the Badge of Military Merit, the Award was created by General George Washington before he became the inaugural president of the United States and officially authorized August 7, 1782.
The Purple Heart was originally to be awarded for any single meritorious action, though in reality officers only bothered to submit three nominations. However, after the revolutionary war, the Purple Heart Medal fell out of use until it was resurrected by General Douglas MacArthur in the 20th century in its current form. Over the years, Purple Heart Day was celebrated, unofficially on several different days, including Washington’s birthday.