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The Meaning Behind the Purple Heart

Posted by McClellan Senior Living on Aug 1, 2021 8:00:00 AM | 4 minute read

McClellan - Purple Heart

Also known as the Badge of Military Merit, the Purple Heart is our nation’s oldest military award that is still presented to service members today. You have likely seen one before, but perhaps you were not aware of the significance and honor that the Purple Heart offers. 

Did you know that August 7 is Purple Heart Day? To celebrate our veterans and active-duty service members, McClellan Senior Living is sharing the history and meaning behind the purple heart as well as the veteran benefits that can help you or your family cover the costs of senior living in Alabama.

A Purple Heart History

On August 7, 1782, General George Washington created the “Badge for Military Merit.” This badge was meant only for those who performed “any singularly meritorious action” and allowed whoever was presented with one to pass guards and sentinels without challenge. 

In 1932, World War One was the first time that soldiers could be seen getting presented with their own Purple Heart award. These first Purple Hearts were awarded on the site of the final encampment of the Continental Army in Windsor, New York.

However, back then, there were restrictions on who could receive a Badge for Military Merit. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor states, 

“At first, the Purple Heart was exclusively awarded to Army and Army Air Corps personnel and could not be awarded posthumously to the next of kin. In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order allowing the Navy to award the Purple Heart to Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guard personnel. Also, in that year, the Purple Heart was made available for posthumous awarding to any member of the Armed Forces killed on or after December 6, 1941.”

The Modern Purple Heart

The Purple Heart meaning has since changed again to represent and honor members of the military. Today’s Purple Heart is presented to the men and women who are wounded or killed as a result of an act of terrorism or in qualifying circumstances where friendly fire is involved.

Why is the Purple Heart Purple?

There is no definite answer to this question, but here are two prominent theories behind the color. The first one being courage. Since the color purple commonly represents courage, it would make sense that the original color of the Badge of Military Merit would represent the courage of the men and women who made sacrifices for their country.

A newer theory for the purple color is that it represents the blood of the men and women who made sacrifices during times of war.

Purple Heart Benefits

When an individual earns a Purple Heart, they also receive certain benefits, including:

  • VA Loan Funding Fee Exemption
  • VA Medical Care Priority Treatment for Purple Heart Recipients
  • Exempt from VA Co-Payments
  • MWR Access
  • 10-Point Federal Hiring Preference for Purple Heart Recipients
  • College Tuition Waivers for Purple Heart Recipients
  • Purple Heart Scholarship Programs
  • Purple Heart License Plates and ID Cards 

Additional Veteran Benefits

At McClellan Senior Living, we honor and respect our veteran residents. This includes spreading awareness of all the benefits that they could be eligible for to help cover the costs of senior living in Alabama. 

For a more detailed guide on navigating these benefits, download our free eBook, “A Veteran’s Guide to Senior Living.”

A few of these benefits include:

Veteran Pension - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides this additional income to veterans and their spouses through the Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension benefit programs.

Aid and Attendance Benefits - Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits are designed for veterans and survivors who: 

  • Require the assistance of a caregiver to perform daily tasks, such as bathing or dressing 
  • Or stay in bed – or spend a large portion of the day in bed – due to an illness 
  • Or are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical disabilities 
  • Or have limited eyesight (even with corrective lenses, you have 5/200 or less in both eyes)

Housebound Benefits – An increased pension amount, much like the Aid and Attendance Programs mentioned above. Since these programs serve as an addition to the standard VA pension plan, you must also either already receive a VA pension or submit a supplemental VA pension application with your application. Note that you cannot get Aid and Attendance benefits and Housebound benefits at the same time since the requirements for each are different.

There are more benefits available to you than you may realize. To learn more about what we have to offer at McClellan Senior Living or the veteran benefits available to you, we encourage you to contact a member of our team.

Topics: McClellan Senior Living