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Trump praises medal winners on 236th anniversary of the Purple Heart

August 7, 2018

President Trump marked the 236th anniversary of the creation of the Purple Heart on Tuesday, saying those who earned the military medal belong to “a revered class of American patriots to whom we owe our everlasting respect and gratitude.”

“We honor the members of our armed forces for serving as the vanguard of American democracy and freedom around the world,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “Their devotion to duty and love for this country ensure each new generation may enjoy the blessings of liberty, peace, and prosperity.”

Gen. George Washington, then commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, established the medal on Aug. 7, 1782, by order from his headquarters in Newburgh, New York. It was known at theme as the Badge of Military Merit, a heart-shaped purple cloth recognizing soldiers who went above and beyond the call of duty.

Although consistent records weren’t kept until 1932, it’s believed that more than 1.8 million Purple Hearts have been awarded throughout U.S. history for military members killed or wounded while serving, according to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.

Mr. Trump said the award “symbolizes the timeless and noble values of patriotism, honor, and courage, which are hallmarks of our Armed Forces.”

“In every generation, the Purple Heart has been awarded to American service members in recognition of their devotion to duty and sacrifice on the battlefield,” he said. “Some recipients have lost their lives in the defense of our great Nation, while others have suffered life-changing injuries while safeguarding our liberty. All have displayed uncommon courage as they distinguished themselves in combat.”

Among the better-known recipients of the Purple Heart are Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican; former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and John Kerry; World War II hero Audie Murphy; former Desert Storm commander Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf; Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Illinois Democrat; World War II war correspondent Ernie Pyle; aviation pioneer and retired Gen. Chuck Yeager and actor Lee Marvin.

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