Medals and Awards

 
My uncle was a 
recipient of the
Purple Heart

The ORDER of the PURPLE HEART for MILITARY MERIT, commonly called "The
Purple Heart", is an American decoration - the oldest military decoration in the world in
present use and the first award made available to a common soldier. It was created by one
of the world's most famed and best-loved heroes - General George Washington.

General Washington is often pictured as a cold, stern soldier, a proud aristocrat, a martinet. Perhaps he was all of these at times. Yet we know he showed sympathy and concern for his troops, and was not too proud to pray, humbly on his knees, for his beloved country and for the men who served it, and him, so bravely and loyalty. His keen appreciation of the importance of the common soldier in any campaign impelled him to recognize outstanding valor and merit by granting a commission or an advance in rank for the person concerned.  In the summer of 1782 he was ordered by the Continental Congress to cease doing so - there were no funds to pay the soldiers, much less the officers!

Deprived of his usual means of reward, he must have searched for a substitute. Shortly after receiving the "stop" order from Congress, he wrote his memorable General Orders of August 7, 1782, which read in part as follows:

 "The General, ever desirous to cherish virtuous ambition in his soldiers as well as foster and encourage every species of military merit, directs that whenever any singularly meritorious action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear on his facings, over his left breast, the figure of a heart in purple cloth or silk edged with narrow lace or binding. Not only instances of unusual gallantry but also of extraordinary fidelity and essential service in any way shall meet with due reward... The name and regiment of the persons so certified are to be enrolled in a Book of Merit which shall be kept in the orderly room... Men who have merited this distinction to be suffered to pass all guards and sentinels which officers are permitted to do... The order to be retroactive to the earliest stages of the war, and to be a permanent one... The road to glory in a patriot army and a free country is thus open to all."

Lost or misfiled for almost 150 years among the War Department Records at Washington, D.C., this important paper came to light during the search for Washington's papers prior to the celebration of his Bi-Centennial in 1932. With it were the dramatic accounts of three soldiers who received the decoration at Newburgh, N.Y., at Washington's Headquarters. The book of Merit has not been found. The U.S. War Department revived the Purple Heart decoration on February 22, 1932. The revived form is of metal, instead of perishable cloth, made in the shape of a rich purple heart bordered with gold, with a bust of Washington in the center and the Washington coat-of-arms at the top. The latter is believed to have been the source of the stars and stripes of the American Flag.

Intrinsically, the Purple Heart is the world's costliest military decoration - nineteen separate operations
are required to make it from the rough heart stamped from bronze to the finished medal, plated with
gold and enameled in various colors, suspended from a purple and white ribbon.

The ORDER of the PURPLE HEART is awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is definitely a combat decoration.
 

          
 I am still working on trying to find the documentation for 
The Order of The Purple Heart received by my uncle.  
I do know that he was awarded the medal and
am searching for the actual citation.