10 Things to Remember on Purple Heart Day


USAA Community Purple Heart.pngServing in the United States military is an honor. Serving in the United States military in combat is a distinction few achieve. Even among combat veterans, the Purple Heart, awarded to those wounded or killed in combat with the enemy, receives a special and heartfelt nod of respect.


August 7 is Purple Heart Day.

We should strive to remember and assist those that receive the Purple Heart every day. On August 7, these 10 unique items about the Purple Heart make the day stand out.



10 Things to Remember About the Purple Heart


  1. The Purple Heart’s Legacy Began in the Revolutionary War. During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington created the Badge of Military Merit. The Badge of Military Merit is the direct predecessor to the Purple Heart. General Washington designed the badge in the form of a cloth purple heart, and it was to be awarded to soldiers who displayed “not only instances of unusual gallantry in battle, but also extraordinary fidelity and essential service in any way.”

  2. An Estimated 1.8 Million Purple Hearts Have Been Awarded. The modern Purple Heart was established in 1932, but there was not a modern system of record keeping established with the award. It estimated that there may have been 1.8 million Purple Hearts awarded.

  3. The Modern Purple Heart was Designed by General Douglas MacArthur. In 1932, General Douglas MacArthur redesigned the Purple Heart for the 100th anniversary of George Washington’s birthday. The redesigned medal was to be a combat decoration, recognizing commendable action as well as those wounded or killed in combat. In 1944, the Purple Heart was awarded to only those service members killed or wounded in combat.

  4. Enlisted Soldiers Received the First Predecessor of the Modern Purple Heart. Revolutionary war soldiers William Brown and Elijah Churchill were the first soldiers to receive the Badge of Military Merit, the predecessor to the Purple Heart. Brown for his service during the Siege of Yorktown and Churchill for gallantry at a battle near Fort St. George on Long Island.

  5. President John F. Kennedy is the only President Awarded the Purple Heart. President Kennedy was awarded the Purple Heart when he was injured when his famous “PT 109” was sunk by a Japanese Destroyer in the Pacific during World War II.

  6. 10 Purple Heart Awards is the Record. A US Army Soldier during the Vietnam War, Curry T. Haynes, currently holds the record for the largest number of Purple Hearts bestowed upon a single service member. Haynes received his first Purple Heart during a jungle ambush. Then, after recovering and returning to his unit, he was injured nine separate times in a series of attacks on a single day and survived his injuries.

  7. US Army Nurse Beatrice Mary MacDonald – The First Woman Awarded the Purple Heart. Chief Nurse MacDonald Cook was a US Army nurse serving in France in World War I. German aircraft bombed her hospital, severely wounding her eye from shell fragmentation. She lost her right eye and remained in the Army and served through the remainder of WWI.

  8. Purple Hearts Can Still Be Awarded Years Later. The Miami Class United States Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Tampa was lost in September 1918. It was only in 2019, that historians finally proved that all 131 persons on board Tampa were lost when the vessel was sunk by a German torpedo from a German submarine. All lost crewmembers were awarded the Purple Heart over 100 years later.

  9. The Veterans Administration Prioritizes Care for Purple Heart Recipients. Starting in 2019, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began to prioritize medical care for military veterans awarded the Purple Heart.

  10. You Can Register Family Members Who Received the Purple Heart. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is both a museum about the Purple Heart and they maintain a database to record and discover all Purple Heart recipients.

Purple Heart recipients need to be remembered every day, not just on August 7th. Be sure to reach out and thank them for all they have done!


Remember Those Awarded the Purple Heart on August 7th.



Related Information:


  1. USAA Leaving the Military Resources.
  2. The Number One Thing That I Learned from My Military Service


Author Biography: Chad Storlie is a Retired US Army Officer, the author of Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and has published over 460 articles in over 206 publications on military veterans, career advancement, business, leadership, strategy, education, financial planning, and national security topics. Chad excels as an author, mentor, speaker, and teacher showing business leaders and military veterans how military skills make lives, careers, and businesses better. Chad is an adjunct Professor of Marketing at the University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management. Chad has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University. Follow Chad @CombatToCorp 


Originally published August 2019