Purple Heart Day
Wisconsin’s Purple Heart Day
Purple Heart Day in Wisconsin is designated in state law. Wisconsin State Statutes s. 14.16 (11) states:
"The governor shall annually proclaim August 7 as Purple Heart Day and urge the people and organizations of the state to display the American flag on that day as a public expression of the recognition of those individuals who have been wounded or killed in action preserving the freedoms that all United States citizens cherish."
The Purple Heart is the oldest military medal in the world in present use. General George Washington initially designed and created it on August 7, 1782 as the Badge of Military Merit in response to an order from the Continental Congress to cease recognizing a soldier's outstanding valor or merit by an advancement of rank or granting of a commission due to a lack of funds.
Only three badges were awarded subsequent to the Revolutionary War. During preparation for Washington's bicentennial in 1932, the General Order for August 7, 1782 creating the Badge of Merit was rediscovered after 150 years of being lost. The medal was redesigned as a purple heart, with a bust of Washington in its center, and Washington's coat-of-arms on top. With the new design it was renamed the Purple Heart. The USDVA provides a detailed online history of the medal.
The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any Armed Forces member who was wounded or killed in action, died as a result of being wounded in battle, or otherwise designated by the President of the United States. Eligibility has been expanded to include military service members wounded or killed as a result of friendly fire and in acts of terrorism.
Today, receipt of the Purple Heart also provides a guarantee of priority USDVA health care.
In Wisconsin and many states, recipients of the Purple Heart are eligible to receive and display the state’s Combat Wounded Veteran military license plate.
Criteria for Award of the Purple Heart:
The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of an Armed Force who, while serving with the U.S. Armed Services after April 5, 1917, has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may hereafter die after being wounded (a wound for which the award is made must have required treatment by a medical officer):
- In any action against an enemy of the United States;
- In any action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or have been engaged;
- While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party;
- As a result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces;
- As the result of an act of any hostile foreign force;
- After March 28, 1973, as a result of an international terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United States, recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of the department concerned, or jointly by the Secretaries of the departments concerned if persons from more than one department are wounded in the attack; or,
- After March 28, 1973, as a result of military operations, while serving outside the territory of the United States as part of a peacekeeping force.
- After December 7, 1941, by weapon fire while directly engaged in armed conflict, regardless of the fire causing the wound.
- While held as a prisoner of war or while being taken captive.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), formed in 1932, is the nation’s only Congressionally chartered veterans organization exclusively for combat-wounded veterans. MOPH promotes patriotism, represents veterans before the federal government, and offers service and assistance to veterans and their families. The year 2013 marks the 81st anniversary of this veterans’ service organization.