The history behind Purple Heart Day

Hampden County

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – August 7th is a great significance for so many Western Massachusetts families.

This is the day we observe Purple Heart day, the medal awarded to American service men and women killed or wounded fighting for their country during conflicts dating back to World War I.

Many western Massachusetts recipients are buried at the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Agawam, which this year is observing its 20th anniversary.

The Purple Heart bearing the likeness of America’s first president George Washington, was created in 1782 and was known as the Badge of Merit up to 1944. Through the efforts to General Douglas MacArthur, the medal has since become known as the Purple Heart.

Nearly two million have been awarded honoring the dead and wounded, more than one million of those American soldiers who fought during World War II.

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