MOUNT VERNON, Va. (WVEC) -- August 7 is a day that commemorates the oldest military award still being given in the name of the President of the United States: the Purple Heart.
The medal is awarded to service members who are wounded or killed while serving in the United States military. The Purple Heart was first created on August 7, 1782 by the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, General George Washington. At the time it was called the Badge of Military Merit, and was awarded to three Revolutionary soldiers.
Thank you to all of our Purple Heart recipients.
Today we honor you. pic.twitter.com/3gdmvFVprF— U.S. Marines (@USMC) August 7, 2017
Historical notes show that after the end of the Revolutionary War, no medals were awarded until 1932, when the Purple Heart was revived on the bicentennial anniversary of George Washington's birth.
According to a circular dated February 22, 1932, Purple Heart Medals were to be awarded to those wounded or killed while serving in the United States Armed Forces as a result of enemy action on or after April 5, 1917, which is when the United States officially joined World War I.
According to the Department of Defense, approximately 1.8 million Purple Hearts have been presented.
A National Purple Heart Day ceremony is planned on Monday at Washington's Mount Vernon estate, with over 150 Purple Heart recipients expected to be in attendance.
Sources: The Associated Press and the Department of Defense