Ottawa County Museum seeking local Purple Heart recipients

Jul 9, 2024 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

The Ottawa County Museum is searching for Ottawa County Purple Heart recipients, or recipient family members, for their ongoing Purple Heart Museum Trail project. These individuals will be honored during National Purple Heart Day on Wednesday, Aug. 7, at the Liberty Aviation Museum. To date, more than 30 Purple Heart recipients or family members have been honored by the museum.

In order for recipients or family members to be honored, they must complete an Ottawa County Purple Heart Registration form, as the military doesn’t keep a list of Purple Heart recipients. Registration forms are available from the museum – which is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 12 to 3 p.m. – or by calling museum board member Dave Barth at 419-357-2057 or by email at drb360@gmail.com. Registration forms need to be received by July 30 in order to be honored at the Aug. 7 ceremony.

The Purple Heart is the oldest American military decoration and was created as The Badge of Military Merit, made of purple cloth in the shape of a heart with the word “Merit” sewn upon it, on Aug. 7, 1782, in Newburgh, New York. In February, 1932, the Badge of Military Merit was reestablished as the Purple Heart by General Douglas MacArthur. The Purple Heart is awarded to military members wounded or killed in combat. The criteria used to determine the medal has changed over the years and is evaluated on a regular basis.

The Ottawa County Museum was designated a Purple Heart Trail Museum in January, 2023, and is one of 15 museums in the country to have this designation. The designation requires the museum to develop a database of Purple Heart recipients; recognize Aug. 7 as National Purple Heart Day by holding a ceremony honoring Purple Heart recipients; and create a display in the museum. The recipient book is at each public library in the county and the museum.

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