Washington, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Brian Mast (FL-18) and Tim Walz (MN-01), along with U.S. Senators Susan Collins (ME) and Joe Manchin (WV), led a joint resolution today in support of Purple Heart Day on August 7th. Purple Heart Day recognizes the sacrifices of those who have earned the Purple Heart Medal and is commemorated each year on the anniversary of George Washington creating the “Badge for Military Merit,” the precursor to the Purple Heart.
“Many of the women and men I woke up next to in Walter Reed were much more severely injured than myself, and their resolve kept me going each day,” Rep. Mast said. “I’m honored to be in a position to recognize these heroes who have given so much of themselves, both figuratively and literally, to defend our freedom.”
The resolution supports the goals and ideals of Purple Heart Day, encourages citizens to learn about the history of the Purple Heart Medal, and requests that the president issue an annual proclamation calling on the people of the U.S. to demonstrate support for Purple Heart recipients.
“Establishing August 7th as a day to honor those brave men and women who have earned the Purple Heart is not only the right thing to do, but unites our country in recognizing the sacrifices of those who have risked everything in service to our nation,” Rep. Walz said.
“The Purple Heart is a reminder that freedom is a gift purchased at the greatest possible price. I believe it is vitally important for all Americans to learn the history of this important military award and understand and honor the many men and women in uniform who have earned the Purple Heart,” Senator Collins said. “Our resolution recognizes the tremendous sacrifices these brave servicemembers have made to protect our country and uphold our freedoms.”
“True patriotism is what drives men and women every day to serve in our military, even though that service comes with great risk,” Senator Manchin said. “Our brave service members who face life and death situations deserve the most distinguished medals the United States military awards. The Purple Heart, our nation’s oldest military medal, is awarded to those service men and women who have borne the battle, sacrificing life and limb. The establishment of National Purple Heart Recognition Day on August 7th honors Purple Heart recipients and encourages our fellow Americans to recognize and appreciate the sacrifices those recipients have made for our great country.”
Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Mast followed in his father’s footsteps by serving in the U.S. Army for more than 12 years, earning medals including The Bronze Star Medal, The Army Commendation Medal for Valor, The Purple Heart Medal, and The Defense Meritorious Service Medal. While deployed in Afghanistan, he worked as a bomb disposal expert under the elite Joint Special Operations Command. The last improvised explosive device that he found resulted in catastrophic injuries, which included the loss of both of his legs.
"Each year, August 7th is observed as Purple Heart Day in many states across the country, in recognition and appreciation of servicemembers who were killed or wounded in combat against the enemy,” Hershel Gober, the National Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, said. “MOPH strongly believes that this recognition should be made at the federal level, in order to fully honor all Purple Heart recipients, as well as to grant the American people an opportunity to reflect on their extraordinary sacrifices. We deeply thank Senators Collins and Manchin and Representatives Walz and Mast for introducing this important legislation, which we wholeheartedly support."
The bipartisan resolution was cosponsored by 23 Senators, including Senator Marco Rubio (FL), and 11 Representatives.