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Purple Heart Day is today and here’s what Trump, the DoD and others said on social media

Purple Heart awarded to US Marine Corps (USMC) Sergeant (SGT) Jeffery Planteen. (Cpl. Marsha N. Garcia/U.S. Marine Corps)
August 07, 2018

Tuesday, Aug. 7 marked the anniversary of Purple Heart Day – the nation’s oldest military award.

President Trump tweeted about the anniversary, saying: “Today, on the 236th anniversary of the Purple Heart, we honor the members of our Armed Forces for serving as the vanguard of American democracy and freedom around the world. #PurpleHeartDay

President Trump included a White House statement in which he described the history of Purple Heart Day.

“On this day in 1782, General George Washington established the Badge of Military Merit. This decoration, consisting of a simple, heart-shaped purple cloth, recognized soldiers who went above and beyond the call of duty in service to our new Nation,” the statement said.

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The statement continued to describe the Purple Heart as “one of the most sacred, distinguished, and recognizable military medals,” which “symbolizes the timeless and noble values of patriotism, honor, and courage.”

The statement added:

Today, on the 236th anniversary of the Purple Heart, we honor the members of our Armed Forces for serving as the vanguard of American democracy and freedom around the world.  Their devotion to duty and love for this country ensure each new generation may enjoy the blessings of liberty, peace, and prosperity.  We also continue to pledge our boundless gratitude and support for our strong and resilient military families.  They endure tremendous sacrifices, bear the greatest burdens of every loss, and instill in each of us enduring love and respect.

Melania joins me in thanking all those who have served and who continue to serve our Nation in uniform, and we send our best wishes to those marking this day through special ceremonies and events.

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted: “Grateful to the heroic Americans who have fought to defend our freedom and have been awarded the Purple Heart. THANK YOU! #PurpleHeartDay

Pence also paid tribute to an Air Force member: “Personally grateful to a member of our team, @USAirForce Senior Master Sergeant Naeem Stanley, who received a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained in 2005 while leading a convoy in Iraq. Today, we honor his sacrifice and commitment to our nation. #PurpleHeartDay”

The Department of Defense tweeted: “On this #PurpleHeartDay and every day, we honor the brave men and women who have sacrificed for this nation. #HonorThem

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The Secretary of the Army, Dr. Mark T. Esper, tweeted a quote from George Washington: “‘Let it be known that he who wears the Military Order of the Purple Heart has given his blood in the defense of his homeland, and shall forever be reverend by his fellow countrymen.’ -George Washington. #PurpleHeartDay”

The Purple Heart was originally awarded for “any singularly meritorious action,” for only members of the Army, according to the DoD. However, after the Legion of Merit was introduced in 1942, the “meritorious action” requirement was removed from the Purple Heart, leaving the requirements to specify soldiers wounded or killed.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt extended the award to all armed service branches in 1942, and in 1952, President Harry Truman retroactively applied the award to April 5, 1917 – so World War I veterans were eligible.

Each of the Armed Services branches also tweeted out in recognition of the day.

The U.S. Army tweeted: “Today on #PurpleHeartDay, the #USArmy remembers and honors the brave men and women who were either wounded on the battlefield or paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.”

The U.S. Marines tweeted: “Honoring all our men and women who have sacrificed for this nation. #PurpleHeartDay”

The U.S. Navy tweeted: “Your #USNavy honors Purple Heart recipients wounded in combat or killed in action in service to our nation—on this #PurpleHeartDay and every day. #HonorThem”

The U.S. Air Force tweeted: “#DYK: Over 1.8 million #PurpleHearts have been awarded. #HonorThem”