The Purple Heart is awarded to United States servicemen wounded or killed in action. It was originally known as the Badge of Military Merit and was established by General George Washington in 1782. By 1931-32 the award had been redesigned and it officially became known as the Purple Heart. Retroactively to 5 April 1917, those men of World War I authorized to wear the wound ribbon, meritorious service ribbon or wound chevrons on their uniform could request a Purple Heart. Commencing December 3, 1942, the Purple Heart discontinued being awarded for meritorious service as the Legion of Merit was created for that purpose. From World War I to date over 1.9 Million Purple Hearts have been awarded.
Purple Heart Medal
Purple Heart Ribbon
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One way we promote public education of military history is through our exhibits. View some pictures of recent Exhibits.