August 7th, 1782 - Newburgh, New York, American Revolution
The long and hard-fought Revolutionary War was finally drawing to a close. George Washington sat inside his headquarters, a house, in Newburgh, New York thinking of ways to reward those troops that had been so loyal to the American cause for the last 6 years. The Continental Army was practically out of funds to pay its soldiers, and at this point, it was their own merit and loyalty that kept them fighting for the American cause. So, Washington issued the "Badge of Distinction" and "Badge of Merit" as a way to recognize his loyal troops and all they had done.
The "Badge of Merit" due to its color and shape, eventually became the Purple Heart that we know today.
While the original badge, which required a tremendous amount of courage to obtain, was more likely a predecessor of the Medal of Honor, one can tell simply by the image above, how this eventually became the forerunner to the Purple Heart. Pay respect to those who have earned this medal and have made the ultimate sacrifice and learn more about the Purple Heart and its history at the link provided below. (Photo and reference credits: www.purpleheart.org).
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."
President George Washington