On this day in 1782, in Newburgh, New York, General George Washington, the commander in chief of the Continental Army, created the "Badge for Military Merit," a decoration consisting of a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk, edged with a narrow binding of silver, with the word Merit stitched across the face in silver. The badge was to be presented to soldiers for any singularly meritorious action and permitted its wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge. The honoree's name and regiment were also to be inscribed in a Book of Merit.
Later, General Douglas MacArthur, took up the cause, hoping to reinstate the medal in time for the bicentennial of George Washington's birth. On February 22, 1932, Washington's 200th birthday, the US War Department announced the creation of the Order of the Purple Heart.
To read more and for the clip art, visit Purple Heart Day
Image - Dixie Allan