PURPLE HEART FOUNDATION II
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National Purple Heart Day
Purple Heart Day on August 7 is the kind of day created to give back. It’s a day for Americans to remember and honor the men and women who bravely represented their country and were wounded or killed whilst serving. These people are decorated with a Purple Heart in the name of the President, and this day is for remembering them and their sacrifice. Some states, counties, and cities pause in recognition, as do some sports and entertainment entities. Military and veteran organizations also hold meetings for remembrance. Please join us as we honor those that have been given a Purple Heart.
HISTORY OF PURPLE HEART DAY
George Washington awarded the original Purple Heart, designated as a Badge of Merit, in 1782. There was a lack of funds in the Continental Army at the time so the award was a way to honor enlisted and deserving people. The honor is presented to soldiers for “any singularly meritorious action.” It was designed with a piece of silk bound through it with a thin edge of silver. Washington only gave out three of the badges himself, and instead authorized subordinates to issue the badges as they saw fit.
The Badge of Merit faded from use but was revived and launched in 1932, this time as the Purple Heart. As well as honoring those wounded in combat, this iteration of the Purple Heart recognized commendable action. It was in 1944 that the policy was tweaked slightly and the Purple Heart was given the purpose we know it for today, specifically to honor those who have been wounded or died.
The first service member to be given the modern Purple Heart was General Douglas MacArthur for his service in the Pacific theater during World War II. In total there have been 1.8 million Purple Hearts awarded over the years.
Purple Heart Day was first observed in 2014 and has been observed every year since. It’s a chance to reflect on the bravery of those who have fought for the U.S. and to ensure that their courage is never forgotten.
In their hour of greatest need, can our veterans count on you?
The Four Chaplains, also known as the Immortal Chaplains, were four World War II chaplains who died while saving civilians and military personnel when the US troop ship SS Dorchester sank in the Atlantic with 902 men on February 3rd, 1943, in what is known as the second worst maritime disaster of World War II.
Four chaplains provided hope to despair and light to darkness, during a great turmoil. These chaplains were Lt. George L. Fox, a Methodist; Lieutenant Alexander D. Goode, Jewish; Lieutenant John P. Washington, Roman Catholic; and Lieutenant Clark V. Poling, Dutch Reformed.
The four chaplains dispersed among the soldiers quickly, as they tried to soothe the frightened, care for the wounded, and guide the bewildered to a safer place.
While most of the men were already on deck, the chaplains opened a storage locker and began handing out life jackets. When there were no more life jackets to hand out, the chaplains removed theirs and handed them to four young men. As the ship sank, survivors on nearby rafts could see the four Army chaplains standing with their arms linked together, praying for the soldiers and sailors under their care.
In all, 672 men died out of the 902 on board the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, leaving 230 survivors. The nation was stunned by the scale of the tragedy and the heroic behavior of the four chaplains, after the news reached American shores.
That night of February 3, 1943, Reverend Fox, Rabbi Goode, Reverend Poling, and Father Washington went through the final test of their lives, becoming an enduring example of extraordinary faith, selfless sacrifice and interfaith cooperation.
The impact of the chaplains' story was profound, many memorials have been dedicated to them for their heroism and courage. Each of the four chaplains posthumously received the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart. Additionally, all four chaplains were nominated for the Medal of Honor, however they were deemed ineligible due to not having seen combat with the enemy. Congress decided to create a medal especially for the four chaplains, and with the same weight and importance as the Medal of Honor.
The selfless act of the four chaplains represents one of the purest spiritual and moral acts a person can do. These are the kind of acts that we, at DVNF, get inspiration from, to work every day to help the veterans in need.
We ask ourselves frequently: What more can we do for the veterans? How can we be more like those four noble men of God?” We know you got inspired as well after reading about the four chaplains, so please donate in the form below, so you can help us meet the most pressing needs of homeless veterans ... assist veterans struggling to find jobs ... support programs that foster mental and physical healing ... and more!
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