Category: Purple Heart

Categories: Personal Decorations, US Military Decorations

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The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military. With its forerunner, the Badge of Military Merit, which took the form of a heart made of purple cloth, the Purple Heart is the oldest military award that is still given to members of the U.S. military, the only earlier award being the obsolete Fidelity Medallion.

The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York.

Roll of Honor at the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor

Enrollment (to place Purple Heart recipients into the Roll of Honor)

See Purple Heart at the Institute of Heraldry, Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army
See Wikipedia: Purple Heart


A purple heart within a gold border, 1 3/8 inches wide, containing a profile of General George Washington. Above the heart appears a shield of the Washington Coat of Arms (a white shield with two red bars and three red stars in chief) between sprays of green leaves. The reverse consists of a raised bronze heart with the words “FOR MILITARY MERIT” below the coat of arms and leaves.


The original Purple Heart, designated as the Badge of Military Merit, was established by General George Washington by order from his headquarters at Newburgh, New York, August 7, 1782. The writings of General Washington quoted in part:
“The General ever desirous to cherish a virtuous ambition in his soldiers, as well as to foster and encourage every species of Military Merit, directs that whenever any singularly meritorious action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear on his facings over the left breast, the figure of a heart in purple cloth or silk, edged with narrow lace or binding. Not only instances of unusual gallantry, but also of extraordinary fidelity and essential service in any way shall meet with a due reward".

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