Monday, January 12, 2009

Purple Heart

I was driving on the freeway the other day and noticed a Purple Heart license plate. I then began to wonder why it's purple. I thought maybe it had something to do with "nobility" or being of a noble act. The color purple was originally exclusive to kings, queens and emperors because it was virtually impossible to produce naturally, and therefore, extraordinarily expensive. Good theory, but wrong.

The U.S. Army regulates that the Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after 5 April 1917, has been wounded or killed, or who has died after being wounded.

Which then made me curious who initiated the honorary medal. I was surprised. It was none other than our greatest President, George Washington, then Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.

Engraved on the back of the Purple Heart was this:
"Let it be known that he who wears the military order of the purple heart has given of his blood in the defense of his homeland and shall forever be revered by his fellow countrymen."

So why was it purple? George Washington believed that color resembled the look of dried blood.

Now you’re a little smarter, Girlfriend — And so am I.

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