March 5, 2014
To the residents of Bladen County, as the senior vice commander of The Military Order of The Purple Heart Chapter 822, which encompasses Robeson, Hoke, Bladen, Scotland and Columbus counties, I write to publically inform you of the diligent work of the Bladen County commissioners in honoring your veterans and declaring your county a Purple Heart County.
The Military Order of The Purple Heart is the only congressionally chartered veteran service organization, and has been proud and well received by your commissioners in this endeavor. This is extremely important, because it solemnly remembers the sacrifices made by local veterans in honor to their commitment to you and their service to their country.
Let me share with you the history of the Purple Heart so that you have a clear understanding of why this designation is important. The Purple Heart is awarded by the United States Armed Forces and is a military medal of decoration awarded to personnel wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States. The Purple Heart is the oldest military award still given, with the original decoration established by George Washington on Aug. 7, 1782.
The Badge of Military Merit, as it was designated then, was awarded to only three Revolutionary War soldiers. While never abolished the bade was not revived until the 200th anniversary of President Washington’s birth, Feb. 22, 1932, out of respect to his memory and military achievements.
On that date, by executive order, the military decoration was authorized to be awarded subsequent to April 5, 1917, the day before the US entered WWI. During World War II, nearly 500,000 were manufactured in anticipation of the estimated causalities resulting from the planned Allied invasion of Japan. To present date, total combined American military causalities have not exceeded that number. The existing surplus allows combat units to keep Purple Hearts on hand for immediate award to soldiers wounded in the field.
Please join me in thanking your Bladen County commissioners for honoring our military personnel who have sacrificed so much for you and I.
Senior vice commander
Military Order of The Purple Heart