National Purple Heart Day

The Purple Heart is a U.S. military decoration awarded to armed forces personnel who have been wounded or killed by enemy forces. It is awarded by and in the name of the President of the United States.

National Purple Heart Day is observed on August 7 each year.

What began as the Badge of Military Merit, originating with George Washington in 1782, has evolved into the Purple Heart award that we know of today. To date, the United States has awarded more than 1.9 million Purple Heart Awards to members of our armed forces.

National Purple Heart Day, August 7, with LIBERTY FLAGS, The American Wave®

George Washington's Legacy

Washington's influence on the modern Purple Heart Award was brief-but-lasting. The first Commander in Chief personally awarded three Badges of Military Merit during and in the aftermath of the American Revolutionary War. His military subordinates were also permitted to dole out the awards where they saw fit.

After the Revolutionary War, the Badge of Military Merit was not heard about again until after the first great war, World War I.

By George Washington's 200th birthday on February 22, 1932, the Badge of Military Merit was revived as the Purple Heart Award, with redesign casting a profile of George Washington below the Washington coat of arms onto a heart-shaped pendant bordered in gold and suspended from a purple ribbon.

The Purple Heart Award Today

As of 2010, more than 1.9 million Purple Hearts had been received by members of the United States Armed Forces. Criteria for the Purple Heart Award has evolved over time, so there are, understandably, many current and retroactive requests pending.

Currently, military personnel qualify to receive the Purple Heart Award if they are injured or killed by an enemy action at any point following the United States' entry into World War I (April 6, 1917).

Thanks to Our Military Personnel

While they are deserving of our appreciation every day of the year, August 7 each year is National Purple Heart Day, a friendly signpost reminding us to give thanks to the people who give some measure of their own existence as a sacrifice that wards off aggression around the world. From our hearts, thank you to all of those who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

Flying the U.S. Armed Forces Flags Outdoors

The Department of Defense Directive 1005.8 asserts the order of precedence of military personnel, which we can safely assume mirrors that of military flags on an Outdoor Flagpole. That order is as follows: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. However, the Coast Guard Flag moves up right behind Navy when the Coast Guard operates as a service of the Department of the Navy during a time of war. As of this writing, the D.O.D. Directive has not been updated to include the Space Force flag (current as of 2003.

The recent addition of the Space Force flag has, therefore, generated some confusion. Most visible examples show the Space Force flag placed between the Air Force and Coast Guard flags. However, though it meets with historic precedent and follows the same guiding reasoning, this precedence has not been documented in writing that we have found.

In a mandatory directive from the Secretary of The Air Force (downloadable here) in August of 2020, the Space Force flag is ordered to be flown in the sixth position, after the Coast Guard flag (as pictured throughout our website).

When the flags are being flown on multiple Outdoor Flagpoles, the American Flag should always be flown first in line. If you are flying a military flag on the same pole as your American Flag, it should be of equal size or smaller and flown below the American Flag.

100% American-Made Ceremonial United States Military flags from LIBERTY FLAGS, The American Wave®
100% American-Made Ceremonial United States Military flags from LIBERTY FLAGS, The American Wave®

Displaying American Military Flags Indoors

When displaying Military Ceremonial Flags, the order of precedence remains the same as when they are displayed outdoors. The American Ceremonial Flag is always displayed first in the order. It’s also important to remember that when a Military Ceremonial flag is presented by a color guard, either indoors, during a parade, or on the playing field, a Parade Carry Belt must be worn.

Military Desk Flags and sets are another way to show your support for U.S. Armed Forces. Desk flags are small and versatile; they can be displayed on a podium, a desk, or even a window sill. These small flags can also be waved during a parade or other celebration.

How Do You Celebrate America's Armed Forces Personnel?

Send us your pictures of Purple Hearts and Purple Heart recipients, American flags, flagpoles, ropes, or other accessories! We would be honored to feature your photography in our blog or on Facebook. Remember, photos of damaged flags and accessories are valuable, too.

Do you have suggestions for information you'd like to see here? If so, please send them our way!

Please send all of your suggestions or questions to We want to hear from you!

Have a great day, from your friends at LIBERTY FLAGS, The American Wave®.

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