SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Wednesday marks the first Purple Heart Day in Massachusetts, honoring the men and women killed in combat and those who survived their wounds.
Governor Charlie Baker issued the proclamation Wednesday. Dozens of western Massachusetts cities and towns had earlier declared themselves as Purple Heart communities.
Springfield Veteran Service Director Tom Belton, himself a Purple Heart recipient, told 22News what it means to receive the Purple Heart.
“Do they really understand what you have to do to get the Purple Heart,” Belton said. “The Purple Heart is not a medal that you are recommended to get, you earn the Purple Heart.”
The governor’s proclamation was welcomed by Brian Willette of South Hadley, the Massachusetts commander of the military order of the Purple Heart.
Brian Willette told 22News that the first actual Purple Heart State salute will be part of Massachusetts Veteran’s Day observance on Monday, November 11.