Moments from America’s History: The Purple Heart
merica’s military history is replete with accounts of sacriﬁce and heroism. Many of
CONTRIBUTED BY JEFF OLSON
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these have been acknowledged through the awarding of special citations and medals. Included among them is one we have all heard of: the Purple Heart. Your knowledge of this award may be more than just an awareness if you, a family member, friend, or someone else you know has earned one or more. About ten years ago, I was watching a news program on television and one of the guests was a man who was promoting an organization with the purpose of recognizing those Americans who have earned the Purple Heart. It especially caught my attention because my father earned a Purple Heart for severe wounds he received in June 1944 in the southwest Paciﬁc Theater of World War II. I promptly looked up The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor (located in New Windsor, NY), which commemorates the extraordinary sacriﬁces of America’s servicemen and servicewomen who were wounded or killed while serving with the U.S. Military. Its mission is to collect and preserve the stories of Purple Heart recipients from all branches of service and across generations to ensure that all recipients are represented. Subsequently, I proudly submitted the name, credentials, and memories of U.S. Army PFC Wayne Ray Olson (1911-1974). The Purple Heart is America’s oldest military decoration and was established by George Washington 235 years ago. On August 7, 1782, his general orders established the Badge of Military Merit: “The General ever desirous to cherish virtuous ambition in his soldiers, as well as to foster and encourage every species of Military merit directs 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.” The Badge of Military Merit was only awarded to three Revolutionary War soldiers. While Washington intended and stated that the award was to be a permanent one, the Badge was all but forgotten until the 20th century. Publication General John J. Weekly Pershing suggested a need for an award for merit in 1918, but it was Army . . . . of. .Staff . . . .General . . . . . Charles . . . . . . Pelot . . . . Summerall . . . . . . . .who . . . in. .October . . . . . .1927 . . . .directed . . . . . .that . . .a.draft ...................................................................... Chief bill be sent to Congress “to revive the Badge of Military Merit”. The bill was withdrawn and action on the case ceased shortly thereafter. In January 1931, General Douglas MacArthur
reopened work on a new design, involving the Washington Commission of Fine Arts. Elizabeth Will, an Army heraldic specialist in the Ofﬁce of the Quartermaster General, was named to redesign the newly revived medal, which became known as the Purple Heart. Using general speciﬁcations provided to her, Will created the design sketch for the present medal of the Purple Heart. By Executive Order of the President of the United States, the Purple Heart was revived on the 200th Anniversary of George Washington’s birth in 1932. General Order #3 announced the establishment of the award: “...By order of the President of the United States, the Purple Heart, established by General George Washington at Newburgh, August 7, 1782, during the War of the Revolution is hereby revived out of respect to his memory and military achievements.” The modern medal has a bronze heart bearing Washington’s silhouette in its purple center and the Washington coat-of-arms at the top. The actual order includes the phrase, “Let it be known that he who wears the Military Order of the Purple Heart has given of his blood in the defense of his homeland and shall forever be revered by his fellow countrymen.” Although the actual number of Purple Hearts awarded is unknown, it is estimated that there have been a total of 1.8 million. Of these, 1.3 million have been awarded since World War II. I am very proud of the fact that this important part of my father’s legacy is now enshrined in The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor and I still have and treasure his Purple Heart, which I will bequeath to his grandson. Perhaps there are other deserving patriots which as of yet have not had their names submitted to be honored through this or other avenues of recognition. I believe that such an undertaking is essential to commemorate the measure and scope of their sacriﬁce, honor the spirit of America’s ﬁghting men and women, and perpetuate their legacy - a legacy of freedom which each of us have a responsibility in continuing. In the words of General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), “No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.”
January 6, 2016 OLT Presents: FREE Family Movie Night at the Lyric Theatre O
Polk Count y Fair & Rodeo Ass ociation
Co Wing Rodeo Bogata, Texas
BO OKS OPEN
ust 7th Monday, Aug ust 8th & Tuesay, Aug 0pm 6:00pm-10:0
64th Annu Polk County al 2017 Pro Championship fessional Rodeo
Saturday Nig ht Featuring CADD O COW BOYS! Senior Citizen Night Thursday $3,00
All Horses must have current, veriﬁed, Original Copy of Negative Coggins Test
Andy Risenhoover Arena
Polk County Fairgrounds • Mena, Arkansas
August 10, 11, & 12 • 8:30 Nightly
admission at the gate • adult $7 children 6-12 $5 • Children 5 & Under FREE
Willie Cline & his car from Honabia, OK 8 Years old Claira Morris Trick Rider & The Shadow Rider
uachita Little Theatre is reviving the free Wednesday ‘Night at the Movies’ on August 9, 2017 at 6:30 PM at the Lyric Theatre on Main Street. As part of OLT’s dedication to enrichment of the arts for the community, this is a great time for the people of Polk County to either introduce or reacquaint themselves with great ﬁlms of past decades. The ﬁrst production will be “Singin’ in the Rain”, starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. This 1951 ﬁlm was the inspiration for “LaLa Land,” a movie that was nominated for Best Picture and won several academy awards in 2016. The director and producers of “LaLa Land” openly paid homage to this popular musical of the past. “Singin’ in the Rain” is clever, funny, and full of some of the best song and dance routines ever put on ﬁlm. Those familiar with Rotten Tomatoes critical reviews will agree that the rare 100% this ﬁlm receives proves that it is still one of the most beloved movies of all time. Don’t miss a free evening of entertainment with the family and see a great classic ﬁlm in the theatre the way it was meant to be seen. Be sure to bring the kids and grandkids! Concession stand will be open and donations are welcome. OLT is planning more free movie nights on the second Wednesday of each month.
Ouachita Expressions Opens CONTRIBUTED BY BARBARA M. TOBAIS email@example.com at Mena Art Gallery O
uachita Expressions has been the premier judged show for local competition at Mena Art Gallery for over twenty years. The reception will be Saturday, August 5, from 1 to 3 pm. There are four categories: works on canvas, works on paper, photography and three-dimensional art. The show will include work from local Arkansas artists, as well as artists from the surrounding areas. We are fortunate in Mena to have many gifted and talented artists, and this annual opportunity to see their work and to meet them is not one to miss, but if you can’t make it to the reception, the work will be on display during the month of August from 11 am to 2 pm on Tuesdays and from 10 am to 3 pm on Wednesdays through Saturdays at 607 Mena Street.
January 6, 2016
Published on Aug 3, 2017