What does the purple heart award represent?
The Purple Heart is an award given to those who were wounded by enemy fire in combat.
Who were the first recipients to receive the purple heart award and when did they receive the purple heart award?
A soldier who receives the purple heart was wounded in combat during military service. It may be presented to his/her family if deceased. A military grave stone may include the letters 'PH' to denote the award of the purple heart. The award may be given multiple times. The wounds received must be caused by the enemy for the award to be valid. A Humvee rollover, for example, would not result in a purple heart. The…
Since Purple Heart recipients are now eligible for VA medical care, go to any VA Hospital and ask for the Service Officers. These are veterans' advocates employed by the DAV, VFW, AMVETS, American Legion, etc. to help vets get their awards and to help with claims. They can assist in obtaining a copy of your purple heart award orders, as well as all other award records.
The original Purple Heart award was made personally by General George Washington during the American Revolution to 3 Continental Army soldiers. It was a heart-shaped purple colored cloth, with white piping on the perimeter. It then disappeared until the early 1930's, resurrected by then Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur, and was made retroactive to WWI wounded soldiers. So the first people awarded the Purple Heart were WWI wounded soldiers.
One can make the case that it was either Newburgh, New York, where the original purple and heart-shape military award, the Badge of Military Merit, was invented, announced, established, and awarded by Gen. George Washington (August 7, 1782 - June 10, 1783) or Washington, DC, where President Herbert Hoover "revived" the Purple Heart medal on February 22, 1932, for the 200th anniversary of George Washinton's birth.