On Friday, March 16, 2018, Governor Ducey signed Senate Bill 1089 – Purp1e Heart Day, sponsored by Senator Sonny Borrelli, R-Dist. 5. The legislation recognizes August 7 as “Purple Heart Day” in Arizona.
It was on August 7, 1782, at his headquarters in Newburgh, New York, that General George Washington, the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, ordered the creation of a Badge of Military Merit.
The badge consisted of a purple heart-shaped piece of cloth with the word “Merit” embroidered in silver across the front. It was awarded to soldiers who showed “not only instances of unusual gallantry in battle, but also extraordinary fidelity and service in any way.”
Only three soldiers who fought in the American Revolutionary War received the decoration; Elijah Churchill, William Brown and Daniel Bissell, Jr. Afterward, the award was largely forgotten until General Douglas MacArthur lobbied to revive it.
On February 22, 1932, the 200th anniversary of Washington’s birth, the U.S. War Department announced the creation of the “Order of the Purple Heart.”
The medal bears the image of Washington and his coat of arms. It is presented to members of the military who have been “wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed forces.”
The Purple Heart has been a symbol of bravery and sacrifice since the founding of the United States. “Purple Heart Day” serves as a reminder to honor our veterans not only each August 7, but year-round.