The second annual Purple Heart Night of Honor to recognize Purple Heart recipients at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center is scheduled for Aug. 5.
National Purple Heart Day is Aug. 7 and local Down East Chapter 639 Military Order of the Purple Heart decided to repeat its successful 2016 event to honor local vets from all branches of the military.
The evening will feature a private reception for honorees, Ceremonial Military Walk of Honor and formal banquet.
Gold Star Mothers are also invited to attend.
Purple Heart recipients and Gold Star Mothers are asked to contact Iggi Husar via email at email@example.com. There is no deadline to attend, but recipients and their guests are asked to register by 4:30 p.m.
“There is no deadline for Purple Heart recipients and Gold Star Mothers,” said Husar, the 1st Vice Commander of Whitehurst Ware American Legion Post 539. “We will gladly welcome these patriotic Americans as walk-ins for the event.”
There are limited tickets at $25 available for the general public, which can also email Husar, or check the availability at 5 p.m. on the day of the event.
Purple Heart recipients will receive two complimentary guest tickets, with Gold Star mothers receiving one guest ticket in addition to their own admission.
This year’s grand sponsor is the Carolina East Health System.
The evening will feature a patriotic flag display presented by the Patriot Guard and music provided by a military ensemble.
Husar said last year’s success led to the second annual event.
“It was an experience of a lifetime. The ceremony brought tears to my eyes,” he said. “I felt honored, being part of the planning committee in making the tribute to Purple Heart recipients a real success. It was truly a team effort.”
The 2016 dinner honoring recipients from Craven, Pamlico and Carteret counties brought out 106 medal winners and a crowd of 700 more supporters at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center.
Honored veterans came from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.
They were roll-called by military conflict, which included 10 total from World War II and Korea; 76 from the Vietnam war; one from the 1983 Marine Corps barracks bombing in Beirut; one from the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing in Kenya; 11 from action in Afghanistan and a dozen from the Iraq War.
Also, seven Gold Star Mothers and relatives of deceased Purple Heart recipients were given special recognition.
There are nine Purple Heart chapters in the state, including the Down East chapter, Jacksonville, Goldsboro, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Charlotte and Lumberton.
According to the web site, timeanddate.com, “It commemorates the day in 1782 when Gen. George Washington created the Purple Heart Medal – a military decoration that is awarded to those wounded or killed while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
“Then known as the Badge of Military Merit, it was awarded to three Revolutionary soldiers in 1783.
“After the end of the American War of Independence, no medals were awarded until 1932, when the medal was revived on the bicentennial anniversary of George Washington's birth.
“According to a circular dated February 22, 1932, Purple Heart Medals were to be awarded to those wounded or killed while serving in the United States Armed Forces as a result of enemy action on or after April 5, 1917. The United States officially joined the First World War on April 6, 1917.
“At current estimates about 1.8 million Purple Hearts have been awarded since then.
“Today, in addition to being awarded to those who fight wars overseas, the Purple Heart is also given to military personnel who display bravery and valor as prisoners of war and while fighting certain types of domestic terrorists.”
Charlie Hall can be reached at 252-635-5667 or 252-259-7585,firstname.lastname@example.org , on Twitter @CharlieHallNBSJ