Purple Heart Community
What is the Purple Heart?
The Purple Heart is specifically a combat decoration and it is our nation’s oldest military medal. It was first created by General George Washington in 1782 and was known as the Badge of Military Merit. It was first awarded to three soldiers in Newburgh, N.Y. The Badge of Military Merit was made of cloth and it is the predecessor of the Purple Heart medal.
The current Purple Heart medal was developed by General Douglas MacArthur in 1932. The new design was created by Miss Elisabeth Will, an Army heraldic specialist in the Office of the Quartermaster General. The revived form is of metal, instead of perishable cloth, made in the shape of a rich purple heart bordered with gold, with a bust of Washington in the center and the Washington coat-of-arms at the top.
The Purple Heart 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 and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. The heritage it represents is sacred to those who understand the price paid to wear it.
What does this Mean?
In November 2014, the Wakefield Board of Selectmen proclaimed publicly that the Town of Wakefield is a Purple Heart community. This important designation was made at the suggestion of the Wakefield Veterans Advisory Board in recognition of the brave and exemplary service of Wakefield natives during times of war.
What is Next
The Wakefield Veterans Advisory Board will continue efforts to honor its Purple Heart recipients in the coming years with an ambitious outreach plan dedicated to outreaching to the Purple Heart community and educating Wakefield residence on the award's significance.
In the coming year, efforts will be made to identify Wakefield Purple Heart recipients (volunteers only) and honor them in a public ceremony.
Additionally, the Proclamation, accepted locally, will be send to the state and national offices of the Military Order of the Purple Heart for nationwide acceptance of Wakefield as a Purple Heart Town.
And finally, the Wakefield Veterans Advisory Board plans to create a local "Purple Heart Trail" to raise awareness in the community. Tentatively, this trail will run through the center of town (Main Street), passing by the town's Veteran Common. It will be denoted with Purple Heart icons on all street signs that touch the trail.
For more information or to get involved with the project, please contact our Wakefield office.