Graham is now ‘Purple Heart City’
The Graham City Council on Thursday approved the city to be recognized as a Purple Heart City under the Military Order of the Purple Heart, to honor those who have been injured or killed risking their lives for the county.
The MOPH is located in Springfield, Va., and is a nationwide organization with chapters from Guam to Puerto Rico.
The order includes 46,000 members in six regions with 49 state departments and 478 chapters.
Veteran Greg Coker, who is a member of the MOPH, brought the idea before the council at its Feb. 8 meeting and nominated the city for the honor.
During the council meeting Thursday, it unanimously approved the request and MOPH State Senior Vice Commander and Chapter President Jon Lunkwicz stated what it means for Graham to be recognized a city as Purple Heart City.
“When Graham does it, you are remembering and honoring all Purple Heart recipients living or dead, we are honoring all veterans living in the city that have served in the military, we are taking a moment to honor George Washington and his significant contribution to our country and the last thing is, we are using this moment to educate all city citizens of the sacrifices of your veterans and remind them to thank them for their service,” Lunkwicz said.
The Purple Heart medal is awarded to members of the armed forces who are wounded by an instrument of war by the hands of the enemy and to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action.
History of the Purple Heart
The Purple Heart is a combat decoration media and one of the nation’s oldest military decorations. It was created by George Washington in 1782 and was then known as the Badge of Military Merit. It was first awarded to three soldiers in Newburgh, New York.
The Purple Heart as it is today was developed by General Douglas MacArthur in 1932. The Badge of Military Merit was made of cloth originally. The Purple Heart medal was newly created by Elisabeth Will who was an Army heraldic specialist in the Office of the Quartermaster General.
The new design was metal, instead of cloth and was made in the shape of purple heart bordered with gold and featuring a engraving of Washington in the center with his coat-of-arms at the top.
Military Order of the Purple Heart
The MOPH is a national organization that was established in 1782 and receives most of their funding through restricted and unrestricted grants, but also receive funding from fundraising events.
Under the MOPH is the Purple Heart Trail which was established in 1992 to create a symbolic and honorary system of roads, highway, bridges, monuments, cities and counties that give tribute to the men and women who received the Purple Heart medal.
The MOPH organization provides National Service Officers and support staff to provide assistance to over 124,844 veterans so can obtained their benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The organization also provides legal options and representation for veterans before the Board of Veterans Appeals and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
Along with their national service programs the organization has Veteran Affairs Voluntary Services which help provide health services and provide grants for everyday items for veterans.
The program also offers jobs for veterans and awards scholarships for Purple Heart recipients, their spouses and to the children and grandchildren of MOPH members.