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The history of the Purple Heart

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Posted at 11:08 AM, Aug 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-07 11:11:42-04

On August 7, 1782, General George Washington created the Badge of Military Merit, later known as the Purple Heart.

The Badge of Military Merit was a purple heart shaped piece of silk with that had the word “Merit” stitched across the heart in silver thread.

The names of those that received the badge were added to a “Book of Merit.”

According to the History Channel, the Badge of Military Merit was only awarded to three known soldiers during the Revolutionary War: Elijah Churchill, William Brown and Daniel Bissell, Jr.

The badge was not issued again until it was reinstated on February 22, 1932, George Washington’s 200th birthday.

The Purple Heart’s current design has a bust of Washington and his coat of arms. It is the oldest American military decoration for military merit and is awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces who have been killed or wounded in action.

MOUNT VERNON, VA - JUNE 09: A Purple Heart medal is seen during a Purple Heart ceremony June 9, 2015 at George Washington's Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia. The U.S. Army held celebration for its 240th birthday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

MOUNT VERNON, VA – JUNE 09: A Purple Heart medal is seen during a Purple Heart ceremony June 9, 2015 at George Washington’s Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia. The U.S. Army held celebration for its 240th birthday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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