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Last week Scotland County received the purple heart designation. The designation ceremony was held at the Scotland County Courthouse on Wednesday, July 15. After the county ceremony, Gorin was officially designated as a Purple Heart City. Exactly what does the Purple Heart designation mean? It appears that the only requirement to become a Purple Heart City, County or other entity is gratitude.
Initiated in 1992, the Military Order of the Purple Heart’s National Purple Heart Trail Program has been continually expanded to create a “symbolic and honorary system” of roads, highways, cities, counties, monuments, military installations, universities, and other institutions.
In an article in the Mail Tribune from August, 15, 2015, John E. Bircher III, public relations director of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, was quoted as saying the Purple Heart City designation is, “an expression of gratitude to the sons and daughters of that community who gave their lives or were wounded in combat defending the freedoms that all Americans enjoy. Any city, county, state, sports team, or any other entity can become a ‘Purple Heart’ entity.”
In the same article, “Bircher explained that the typical Purple Heart City process involves the mayor and/or city council performing a proclamation, which then is presented to the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. In turn, the organization arranges as many Purple Heart recipients to attend the ceremony. The military order also provides the city a plaque commemorating the occasion, a Purple Heart flag the city can fly, particularly for National Purple Heart Day on Aug. 7, and proud supporter pins for everyone attending the ceremony.” (The Mail Tribune, “No Requirements for ‘Purple Heart City’ Expression of Gratitude”, 8/15/15).
The city of Memphis received the designation at a ceremony at the VFW on November 8, 2019 and several other cities in the area had ceremonies last week at the Schuyler County Courthouse after the Schuyler County designation was granted. Downing, Lancaster, Queen City and Green Top are now Purple Heart cities also. There are over 900 Purple Heart locations in the United States, honoring the 1.6 million Purple Heart recipients. How many have you driven through and wondered what the sign meant?
The Purple Heart is America’s oldest military decoration, established by General George Washington in 1782 to recognize outstanding examples of bravery and sacrifice by the common soldier; and
The Military Order of the Purple Heart’s National Purple Heart Trail Program was established in 1992 and has been continually expanded to create a “symbolic and honorary system” of roads, highways, cities, counties, monuments, military installations, universities, and other institutions.