By Leah Banks 

PEACHTREE CITY — On August 7, the Peachtree City community will be celebrating the lives of purple heart recipients and their hard work and compassion on its first Purple Heart Day. 

Since the previous city council meeting where the date was declared, many members of the community have been recognized for their service not only in the community, but in the Armed Forces. Purple Heart Day provides a day of celebration and recognition for those who risked their lives for the betterment of the country. 

Although the declaration was made recently, the plans for a formal celebration remained postponed simply because of the recent establishment of the city as a “Purple Heart City”. This did not, however, stop the city from doing something to recognize the veterans in their community. 

According to the city clerks office, Peachtree City will have two flag raising ceremonies on Friday, August 5 at 4:00 p.m. to symbolize the historic recognition for the city. The Gateway Bridge is also planned to be lit purple in recognition of the Purple Heart Day. 

Stacey Collins of the Clerk’s office provided information on the events as well as how members of the community can attend. 

“The first flag raising will happen at city hall at the flag pole. Veterans are welcome to attend. The second flag raising will happen at the Southeast corner of Hwy 54/74 on the same side of city hall,” Collins said. 

Veterans are welcomed to attend both flag ceremonies and celebrate along with their comrades as the community recognizes members of the military who made a difference and continue to make a difference in Peachtree City. 

According to the Disabled Veteran National Foundation (DVNF), National Purple Heart Day, which takes place the same day, is a day that was created to give back to the active military who dedicated their lives to serving their country. 

“It’s a day for Americans to remember and honor the men and women who bravely represented their country and were wounded or killed,” the foundation wrote. 

The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President and is recognized as the oldest and highest ranked award received by a member of the active military. 

The story of the Purple Heart dates back to August 7, 1782 when George Washington stabled the Badge of Military Merit. 

According to Joshua Schick, a curator at The National World War II Museum, during this time, it was rare that soldiers were awarded prestigious recognition, as most awards were given to members oft he aristocratic community. Washington felt the need to encourage his troops by making an award for valor and meritorious service. 

Washington presented the Badge of Military Merit, which was made of a cloth purple heart and was intended to be worn over the left breast, to three sergeants in his army. Sadly, the badge was forgotten for about 150 years after its establishment, and in all that time, only three were known to be issues. 

The medal was not revised again until World War I, when the only medal that was awarded was known to be the Medal of Honor. It was not until 1932 that US Army Chief of Staff Douglas MacArthur picked up the old Badge of Military Merit and gave it the name of the Purple Heart. It was not until 1942 that the Purple Heart would not just be awarded to members of the Army, but to all members of the Armed Forces in recognition of their valor and sacrifice. 

As for the city of Peachtree City, the city plans to continue to celebrate the occasion and shine a light on its citizens who have rightfully earned this honor.