The Ascension Veterans Memorial Park (AVMP) will hold their first ever Purple Heart Ceremony on Aug. 6 at 11 a.m.

National Purple Heart Day is celebrated on Aug. 7 to commemorate the day in 1782 when General George Washington created the Badge of Military Merit, today known as the Purple Heart medal. It represented Washington’s respect and acknowledgement of veterans’ combat valor during the American Revolution. In 1932 the medal was transformed into the Purple Heart and was authorized award to soldiers, upon their request, who had been awarded the Meritorious Service Citation Certificate, Army Wound Ribbon, or were authorized to wear Wound Chevrons subsequent to April 5, 1917, the day before the United States entered World War I. During the early period of American involvement in World War II, the Purple Heart was awarded both for wounds received in action against the enemy and for meritorious performance of duty.

With the establishment of the Legion of Merit, by an Act of Congress, the practice of awarding the Purple Heart for meritorious service was discontinued. On Dec. 3, 1942, the Purple Heart was applied to all services and authorized the award only for wounds received. Today, more than 232 years later, the medal is the oldest U.S. military decoration still in use, and the inventory of veterans’ stories blends both heroic and tragic distinctions.

On Nov. 11, 2015, the AVMP dedicated a new monument in the park to Purple Heart recipients. The memorial honors the men and women who have been killed or wounded in service to the country. This year’s ceremony is being sponsored by the Military Order of the Purple Heart Red Stick Chapter 177. 

The Ascension Veterans Memorial Park is located at 612 S. Irma Blvd., Gonzales. For more information, contact the AVMP Committee Chair Tanya Whitney at (256) 656-2124 or ASCVetsPark@gmail.com.