McAlester is about to become an official Purple Heart City.
The official ceremony is set for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at the J.I. Stipe Center at 801 N. Ninth St.
“McAlester has always honored its veterans with Armed Forces Day and other events that take place,” said McAlester Mayor John Browne. “This will fit in perfectly.”
Everyone is welcome to attend the event, the mayor said.
Plans call for the ceremony to include the unveiling of signs designating McAlester as a Purple Heart City.
“Immediately afterwards, the signs will be taken and posted at the entrances to McAlester,” Browne said. Those will include both North and South Main Streets, the north and south entrances along U.S. Highway 69, also known as the George Nigh Expressway in McAlester; and entrances to McAlester on U.S. Highway 270 East and West.
It’s no accident that Dec. 7 was selected as the day for McAlester to become a Purple Heart City.
“We picked that day because it’s Pearl Harbor Day,” said Browne, referencing the day in 1941 when Japanese forces bombed the Pear Harbor U.S. military base in Hawaii, which resulted in the U.S. entering World War II.
“There’s many Purple Hearts that came out of that,” Browne noted.
It’s a medal awarded to members of the U.S. military service who have been wounded or killed as a result of actions by the enemy. It is considered one of the most solemn and respected medals for service in the U.S. military.
Browne said that resulted from President Franklin Roosevelt changing the standards for being awarded to what they are today as a result of the casualties that came out of Pearl Harbor.
McAlester became interested in becoming a Purple Heart City as a result of the leadership at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1098, the mayor said.
The city of McAlester is dedicated to showing respect, honoring, gratitude and remembrance who were killed or wounded in combat, officials noted.
“We’re honoring Purple Heart recipients,” Browne said. “By doing so, we will be added to the collection of other communities recognized by the Military Order of the Purple Heart.”
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