Most Americans are aware of the Purple Heart, a military medal awarded to any service member killed or wounded when in action against the enemy. Most people, however, don’t know about Purple Heart Day, mainly because it is only a few years old.
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.
The Order of the Purple Heart and its distinguished members are honored on August 7, the original day it was authorized. So, if you know a member of this Order, remember their service every day but say a special "thank you" on Purple Heart Day.