MONSON, Mass. (WWLP) – National Purple Heart Recognition day is Sunday and one local town held a ceremony Friday afternoon.

Purple Hearts are awarded in the name of the President to those wounded or killed while serving. More than two million have been awarded since the medal was first given in 1932. Each year, August seventh is set aside to recognize that sacrifice.

A flag raising and service was held inside Monson’s Memorial Town Hall to observe veterans that have defended our country.

Richard Johnson is a 100-year-old World War Two veteran who was wounded during a battle that took the lives of so many of his comrades, “I was so mad at the landing where we lost 9,000 men. That didn’t have to be… but I wasn’t running the war.”

Gretchen Neggers observed Purple Heart Day in memory of her late husband who had been wounded during the Vietnam War. She proudly told 22News why it’s so important she attend this service, “I’m here because my husband whose now deceased was awarded a purple heart with oak leaf clusters while service in Vietnam in the United States Army. He passed away in October 2020.”

The flag will continue to fly proudly through Monday. Here in eastern Hampden County and throughout western Massachusetts, communities are saluting those men who gave so much for their country.