SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued a proclamation declaring August 7, 2014 as California Purple Heart Veterans Day.
The text of the proclamation is below:
As a military decoration, the Purple Heart traces its origins to the very first military award of the United States Armed Forces. In his General Orders to the Continental Army on August 7, 1782, General George Washington established the Badge of Military Merit, directing that “whenever any singularly meritorious action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear … over the left breast, the figure of a heart in purple cloth.” In the spirit of our Revolution, the Badge of Military Merit could be awarded to soldiers of any rank, breaking with the European tradition of military awards being reserved for high-ranking officers. In Washington’s own words, “The road to glory in a patriot army and a free country is thus open to all.”
The Badge of Military Merit fell into disuse after the Revolutionary War, and the purple heart shape would not be revived until 1932, when the United States War Department authorized a new medal to be awarded to any member of the Armed Services who has been wounded or killed in action. The first recipients of the new Purple Heart received it retroactively for their service during the First World War. Since then, we have awarded approximately two million Purple Hearts to our combat veterans. These figures represent a staggering amount of human suffering in the service of our country, and the unparalleled selflessness of our troops in performing their duties. Today, I urge all Californians to join me in saluting our Purple Heart recipients for their valor and sacrifice.
NOW THEREFORE I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim August 7, 2014 as “California Purple Heart Veterans Day.”
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 6th day of August 2014.
EDMUND G. BROWN JR.
Governor of California
Secretary of State