Glendale "Bugler" - The Purple Heart

The world's oldest military decoration in present use and the first award made available to a common soldier is the Order of The Purple Heart for Military Merit.

Established 210 years ago by General George Washington on August 7, 1782 in his General Orders: "The General, ever desirous to cherish virtuous ambition in his soldiers, as well as 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 his left breast, the figure of a heart in purple cloth or silk edged with narrow lace or binding."

Lost or misfiled for almost 150 years among War Department Records in Washington, DC, these orders were found in a search for Washington's papers prior to the celebration of his bicentennial in 1932. The revived form of the Order of the Purple Heart is of metal instead of perishable cloth, made in the shape of a rich purple heart bordered with gold, and with a bust of Washington in the center and his coat-of-arms at the top.

This combat decoration is awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy. It is posthumously awarded to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action.

"The Purple Heart," as it's more commonly known, is authorized for the first wound suffered. For each subsequent award, an oak leaf cluster is worn on the medal or ribbon.

For more information on The Purple Heart, look at www.purpleheart.org. It's the website for the Military Order of The Purple Heart, which was established in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all those who've received the decoration.

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Webmaster Note: Glendale put out a great internet newsletter, The Bugler. It provided interesting tips, historical information and veterans stories. We have been granted permission to reprint them here. If you are interested in other items from them or wish to visit their site, they can be found at www.paradestore.com.