The Valdosta Daily Times
Gov. Nathan Deal proclaimed this week as Purple Heart Week to recognize the more than 5,000 veterans and active duty members in the state who have received the honor.
Purple Hearts are presented to military members who are wounded in the line of duty and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those killed in action or die of wounds received in action. First known as the Badge of Military Merit, Gen. George Washington was the first to award the honor on August 7, 1782. This week is the 231st anniversary of the award.
To date, more than 1.7 million men and women have received the Military Order of the Purple Heart, with more than 960,000 from WWII alone.
From the time of the Persian Gulf War to today, including Afghanistan and Iraq, nearly 44,000 medals have been awarded.
Today, the criteria for the medal has expanded to include those killed or wounded as a result of an international terrorist attack or as part of a peacekeeping force.
Considering that one must be wounded or killed in active service to our country to receive a Purple Heart, it is only fitting that we honor these men and women and their sacrifices.
Take a moment this week to reflect on those who have been lost in military service and those who have been wounded in service, and if you can, reach out and thank a veteran or active duty member. Put your thoughts into words and your words into action, and show your appreciation.