What is a Purple Heart in the military? The Purple Heart is a military award given to those wounded or killed while serving in the United States armed forces. Since its inception in 1932, this decoration has been awarded to an approximate 1.7 million people. The medal’s predecessor, the Badge of Military Merit, was awarded in the form of a heart shaped purple piece of cloth, and was established by George Washington himself in 1782 for Revolutionary War soldiers.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart was also formed in 1932, and only offers membership to those who have earned the award through their service in the military. It is unique in that it is the only veteran’s organization made up solely of combat veterans. The aim of this organization is to protect and enrich the lives of combat veterans through service.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart has many programs in place to provide support for military families. The organization receives funds for helping military families via operating thrift stores, collecting household items, and promoting the donation of automobiles. They also distribute their official flower, the Purple Heart Viola, once a year. This flower is assembled by disabled veterans and the proceeds go back to programs that help hospitalized veterans and their families.
Veterans need these services more than ever. In 2012, the unemployment rate for veterans was 9.9%, 2% higher than the national average for everyone else. Military families report an average of more than $10,000 in credit card debt, and as of March 2013, some 207,000 veterans reported being unable to find work. You can help the Military Order of the Purple Heart by providing clothing donations or household items to their thrift stores- in some areas you don’t even need to leave your home, as they have partnered with organizations that provide curbside donation pick up. Every little bit helps families in need, so donate today!