V-J Day: 72 Years Since the Surrender of Japan

72 years ago on August 14th, Japan officially announced their acceptance to the Potsdam Declaration, and would sign it in in less than a month, ending World War II. On September 2nd, a formal surrender ceremony was performed in Tokyo Bay, Japan, aboard the battleship USS Missouri. This day is also known as V-J Day, a name selected by the Allies signifying victory over Japan.  The official name for the day, however, is “the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace.”

World War II was a global war that involved over 30 countries and lasted six years. The war was fought between two groups of countries. On one side were the Axis Powers, including Germany, Italy and Japan. On the other side were the Allies, including Britain, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, the Soviet Union, China and the United States of America.The war in Europe began on September 1939, when Germany, under Chancellor Adolf Hitler, invaded Poland. Two years later on December 7th, Japan launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This attack was the catalyst for the United States’ involvement and began the war in the Pacific.

In late spring of 1945, the Allies began bombing major Japanese cities and continued through the summer.  In July, the Allies offered the Japanese government a Postdam Declaration, a statement that called for the surrender of all Japanese armed forces during World War II. The Allies warned Japan that if they did not surrender they would face “prompt and utter destruction”. It was on August 6th, 1945 when the United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb over the city of Hiroshima.The bomb is also known as “Little Boy”  because it was the smaller of the two atomic bombs. The Little Boy explosion wiped out 90 percent of the city and immediately killed over 80,000 people. Three days later a second atomic bomb, “Fat Man” was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. A day later Japan, communicated its intention to surrender under the terms of the Potsdam Declaration.

Japan’s surrender ended World War II, and Americans immediately began to celebrate. President Harry S. Truman stated, This is the day we have been waiting for since Pearl Harbor. This is the day when Fascism finally dies, as we always knew it would.” As the years passed, celebrations of V-J Day scaled down due to Japan becoming a close American ally, and the celebrations being offensive to the Japanese-American population.

Our military men and women selflessly fight to protect our country and they will always be  remembered for their bravery. The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to helping provide assistance to ALL members of the military, veterans, and families. Nearly 90% of cash donations the Purple Heart Foundation receive provides funds for programs that help the National Service Officer Program, the Scholarship program, as well as other programs. It is our goal to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for our men and women in uniform who have sacrificed for our freedom. Show your support for them by making a one-time or monthly pledge to make sure they continue to receive the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.

Mike Cain: The Life of a Purple Heart Recipient

This past Monday, August the 7th was Purple Heart Day. The Purple Heart is our nation’s oldest military award. It was first introduced by George Washington in 1782 as the “Badge of Military Merit”. This award recognizes any United States Armed Forces member who has been wounded, killed, or has died after having been wounded while in combat. It is estimated that over 1.8 million United States military personnel have been awarded the Purple Heart.

The Purple Heart Foundation had the opportunity to talk with one inspiring Purple Heart recipient in particular, Mike Cain. Mike is a double leg amputee who is originally from Wisconsin. He lives every single day with an attitude that is unparalleled, and a heart full of nothing but kindness.

In August of 2000 Mike enlisted in the United States Army. Mike explained that as a kid growing up he had been a bit of a troublemaker, and lacked respect for the adults and authority figures in his life. Something needed to change. Mike recalled a specific career day back during junior year of high school. On this particular day he spoke with an Army recruiter, resulting in the realization that the Army was the exact change he needed.Mike explained that joining the Army helped him develop into a man. A once timid and trouble making kid grew up and learned discipline and the value of hard work.

On August 10th 2003 Mike’s life was completely changed. He woke up in shock to learn that while in Tikrit, Iraq, his vehicle rolled over a double-stack anti-tank landmine. This event, almost exactly fourteen years ago, resulted in Mike being awarded a Purple Heart, and the beginning of learning to live a new life as an amputee.

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Mike explained to me that joining the Army has been a Godsend and he said it is “greatest thing I have ever done with my life”. It is something that both he and his family are proud of. As a Purple Heart recipient, Mike explained it is “the only medal that no one wants”. And though he is so proud of what he has done to support his country, he is not originally “proud” of his Purple Heart. He continued to explain that “at the time, [he] felt like a failure because [he] was sitting in the hospital while [his] guys were still over there fighting”. As time has passed Mike’s Purple Heart has developed into an honor, because it was for this country. If given the opportunity he “would still do anything and put [his] life on the line for this country”.

Coincidentally Purple Heart day and the anniversary of Mike’s injuries fall only a few days apart, making this week in particular a week of reflection. A chance to sit and reflect on how thankful he is to still be here fourteen years later, and how proud he can be for what he did for this country.

Though Mike’s service to the Army may have ended fourteen years ago, his service to this country was reborn. He continues to stay extremely active and supportive in the veteran community. He is a member of the USA Warriors Ice Hockey team, the Wounded Warrior Football team, and is training for the Paralympics. He has made a point to visit and talk with all of the new men and women at Walter Reed Army Medical Center about joining different teams like this and getting back into the swing of life.  

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Mikes resilience and positivity is inspirational to say the least. Each day he wakes up with a better attitude than the day before. He has overcome every single obstacle that has ever been placed in front of him, and does so with unparalleled and contagious positivity. He understands how difficult it is for veterans and specifically Purple Heart recipients when they come home, so he is committed to helping as many of these men and women as he can.

The Purple Heart Foundation are also committed to helping every single man and woman who has served our country. It is our mission to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for our men and women in uniform who have sacrificed for our freedom. You can show your support for these brave men and women by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure that ALL of our veterans, like Mike Cain, continue to get the support they deserve.

Purple Heart Day: The Purple Heart Battalion

August 7th marks the third anniversary of Purple Heart Day and commemorates the creation of the Purple Heart Medal in 1782. The Purple Heart medal is awarded to members of the United States military who are wounded or killed in combat. The predecessor to the Purple Heart medal was the Badge of Military Merit, created in 1782 and retired shortly thereafter.

The Badge of Military Merit was reinstated twice, once in 1927 and again in 1931. General Charles Pelot Summerall wished for a bill to pass in Congress regarding the Badge, but no action was taken after 1928. In 1931, General Summerall had been succeeded by General Douglas MacArthur and brought renewed interest in reinstating the award. On February 22, 1932, on the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington, the Badge of Military Merit was renamed the Purple Heart in honor of the fabric used to create the original award. The first Purple Heart was awarded to General MacArthur.

The U.S. involvement in World War II began after the Pearl Harbor attacks on December 7, 1941. At the time Hawaii had a large Japanese population, and the government feared their loyalty to the United States and wanted to send them into internment camps. However, 2,000 Japanese-Americans volunteered to serve in the military and wanted to become a fighting force to deploy to Europe or Africa. They formed the 100th battalion, and due to their ethnicity, they faced animosity from their fellow soldiers. The purple in the Purple Heart Medal represents courage, which is exactly what the 100th Battalion displayed through all adversity. Never giving up, the 100th battalion won over their comrades and proved their loyalty and bravery during intense training.

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On September 2, 1943 the 100th battalion, completely made up of Japanese-American soldiers, finally deployed to Oran, North Africa, and became a part of the 133rd Infantry Regiment under the 34th Division. It was not until the battle at Monte Cassino that they earned the nickname the “Purple Heart Battalion”, with the motto “ Remember Pearl Harbor”. The battalion earned its nickname because of the many casualties it suffered in combat. During this battle they underwent intense fire, bombings, and lost over 800 soldiers, but never gave up, also being given the nickname “little men of iron.” Due to the amount of casualties suffered the 442nd Infantry replenished the 100th ranks, and deployed to Anzio, Italy. Showing courage once again, the 100th Battalion volunteered for the mission to capture two German soldiers, which led to the fall of the final German stronghold in Rome.

The 100th/442nd is considered to be the most highly decorated unit of its size in U.S. military history with:
At least 1 Medal of Honor
52 Distinguished Service Crosses
560 Silver Stars
28 Oak Leaf Clusters to the Silver Star
4,000 Bronze Stars and 1,200 Oak Leaf Clusters to the Bronze Star
9,486 Purple Hearts.

The Purple Heart Battalion embodies the significance of what the Purple Heart Medal signifies. No matter the circumstances, home or abroad, and the adversity the Battalion faced, they never gave up, and continued to fight for our country to protect our freedom. The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to assisting veterans in all aspects of their lives, including helping those who are in need of assistance while transitioning home from the battlefield. You can show your support for these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure veterans continue to get the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.

Military Caregivers: Heroes Taking Care of Our Heroes

Think about your day-to-day life and schedule. You have your routines, jobs, goals, enjoyments, and much more. Could you imagine if one day you were all of a sudden responsible for someone else and their day-to-day life?

When we think about the brave men and women who return home from serving our country, we oftentimes forget or overlook those whom they are coming home to. Their spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends and acquaintances. Their caregivers. There are over five and a half million people acting as military caregivers in our nation today.

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Many service members returning home bring back pains, injuries and illnesses, both physical and mental. As they get adjusted back to civilian life, it is often times their caregivers who are there to guide them and provide support every step of the way. They need to be able to learn to balance their own life goals and plans with their new responsibilities as a caregiver.

Being a caregiver is not an easy duty; it is not one that comes with formal training, a job description, or a salary. This is a complete new way of life for them. These caregivers have to be strong not only for themselves, but for the service members they support when they cannot be strong on their own. The caregiver’s “workday” does not end at 5 PM, it is constant and ever changing. Each day brings something new, whether that is a new step forward in a positive direction or a bump in the road. Unfortunately many of these caregivers are left to fill many hats, and are unable to focus on their own well-being.   

Now, how can we help the helpers? The more support caregivers have, the easier this lifestyle can become. How can the caregivers help with the pains, injuries, and illnesses that these service members are faced with if they do not have the knowledge of them and how to treat them? If they were able to understand everything that accompanies a service member with a return home from deployment prior to become their caregiver, it would give a chance for them to prepare. Simply just supporting and being there for the caregiver can make a world of difference.

Caregivers often feel like they can’t or shouldn’t take the time for themselves or put their wants and needs over the service member they are caring for. But, at the end of the day they need to be reminded that in order to be able to take care of someone else you must take care of yourself first. Taking care of yourself can be a number of things. For some it may be going to school to further or gain more education. Others it could be spending time to go to work and further their careers. Honestly, for many it is just a chance to relax, go shopping, go to the gym, or enjoy a day just prioritizing themselves.

There are a handful of organizations around the country who provide support to those acting as caregivers to our nation’s service men and women. There are numerous resources which provide support at local, state and national levels. Various organizations have also looked to work with leaders in private, public, nonprofit, faith and labor communities to provide support to those acting as military caregivers. Additionally with many programs out there working to support these caregivers, many foundations are currently lobbying for Congress to expand the VA’s caregiver program. Each day more and more people reach out to help, and strides are being made to expand assistance for our military’s caregivers.

The Purple Heart Foundation provides various programs and assistance that supports not only the veterans, but their caregivers as well. The Purple Heart Foundation offers The Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) Scholarship Program for those family member caregivers looking to gain higher education and advance their careers. Additionally, the Purple Heart Foundation works to help service members transition back to normal civilian life and employment outside of the military, which in turn can help their respective caregivers.  
The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to assisting veterans, and their caregivers, in all aspects of their lives, including helping those who are in need of assistance while transitioning home from the battlefield. You can show your support for these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure veterans continue to get the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.

100 Years Later: The Selective Service Act of 1917

A century has passed since The Selective Service Act of 1917 allowed the government to rapidly grow the Army to enter World War I. The Act stated that all males 18 to 45 were required to register for the draft lottery. By the end of the war, over 2 million men volunteered and 2.8 million had been drafted to serve.

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Due to the previous issues with the Draft Act of 1863, the government changed the option of draft buy-outs, and hiring substitutes for the 1917 Act. These changes were easily accepted by the population because of the high spirit of patriotism during World War I.

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Since Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States of America in 1898, Congress also opened the draft to Puerto Ricans as part of the Jones-Shafroth Act. The Act granted all residents of the island U.S. citizenship and allowed them to reject it voluntarily within the first six months. Of the almost 1.2 million residents on the island, only 288 rejected it. Even though the United States did not enter the war until 1917, the United States’ first shot was fired in the Odenwald incident in 1915 by the Puerto Rican regiment. It is estimated that 235,000 Puerto Ricans registered for the World War I draft and that 18,000 served in the war. However, it is possible that more served, because the Hispanic population was not counted separately in the U.S national census at the time.

 

Here were the different draft categories for the Selective Service Act 1917:

  • Class I.  Eligible and liable for military service
    • Unmarried registrants with no dependents
    • Married registrants with independent spouse and / or one or more dependent children over 16 with sufficient family income if drafted
  • Class II. Temporarily deferred, but available for military service
    • Married registrants with dependent spouse and / or dependent children under 16 with sufficient family income if drafted
  • Class III. Temporarily exempted, but available for military service
    • Local officials
    • Registrants who provide sole family income for dependent parents and / or dependent siblings under 16
    • Registrants employed in agricultural labor or industrial enterprises essential to the war effort
  • Class IV. Exempted due to extreme hardship
    • Married registrants with dependent spouse and / or dependent children with insufficient family income if drafted
    • Registrants with deceased spouse who provide sole family income for dependent children under 16
    • Registrants with deceased parents who provide sole family income for dependent siblings under 16
  • Class V. Exempted or ineligible for induction into military service
    • State or Federal officials
    • Officers and enlisted men in the military or naval service of the United States
    • Licensed pilots employed in the pursuit of their vocation
    • Members of the clergy
    • Students who on or before May 18, 1917 had been preparing for the ministry in a recognized theological or divinity school
    • Registrants who were deemed either medically disabled (permanently, physically, and / or mentally unfit) or “morally unfit” for military service
    • Registrants shown to have been convicted of any crime designated as treason or felony, or an “infamous” crime
    • Enemy aliens and resident aliens

The United States military has changed tremendously since World War I. One the biggest changes occurred in 1973 when the Selective Service announced there would be no more draft calls, and the military would be an all-volunteer force. Today, over a million men and women have and are currently volunteering to protect our country. The United States maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad. Due the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, the U.S. military continues to be the world’s strongest military.

 

The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to helping provide assistance to ALL members of the military, veterans, and families. Nearly 90% of cash donations the Purple Heart Foundation receive provides funds for programs that help the National Service Officer Program, the Scholarship program, as well as other programs. It is our goal to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for our men and women in uniform who have sacrificed for our freedom. Show your support for them by making a one-time or monthly pledge to make sure they continue to receive the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.

Ending the Korean War: The Armistice Agreement

The end of World War II marked a turning point in American history. While many Americans moved forward and focused on having peace in the nation, tensions were growing between the Soviet Union and the US. At the conclusion of WWII, the Korean Peninsula was divided into two zones by the 38th parallel. The northern part was occupied by the Soviet Union and the southern part belonged to the United States. Under the presidency of Harry S. Truman, some Americans feared the Soviet Union would move into other nations and try to take over. Truman wanted to contain communism in not only the US but in foreign countries as well.

On June 25, 1950 the Korean War began when the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) crossed the 38th parallel and invaded the Republic of Korea (South Korea). President Truman feared this was the Soviet Union’s attempt to take over the world so he gave the orders for American troops to join the rest of the United Nations military to help South Korea,  “If we let Korea down the Soviets will keep right on going and swallow up one place after another.”

In the beginning of the war, the Americans and the rest of the Allies’ tactics were to defend South Korea and drive out the communists. North Korea pushed their way into Seoul the capital of South Korea which forced the Allies backwards. In order to regain control of the Capital, the Allies decided to change their war plan. North Korea was pushed out of Seoul with an assault at Inchon that drove them back to their side of 38th parallel. The fighting in the war was now pushed to the North Korean side which worried their bordering country, China. The Chinese began to fear for their territory being invaded by the Allies, so they joined the Korean War when they sent troops to North Korea to help them fight off the Allies.

After a year of fighting in the Korean War, President Truman wanted to end the war and he began the talk of finding peace between the countries. Neither side could all agree on an agreement so the fighting continued for another two years. In 1952, during the US presidential election, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president. Eisenhower was determined to establish peace in Korea and end the Korean War. He picked up where Truman left off and continued to negotiate for peace between the countries. Finally, on July 27, 1953 the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed.  After 3 years of fighting, the United States, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, and South Korea all signed the Armistice in Panmunjom. The US Army Lieutenant General William Harrison Jr. represented the United Nations Command (UNC) and signed for the United States, South Korea, and the Allies. Peng Dehuai signed the Armistice for the Chinese and Kim II-sung signed for the North Koreans.

The Armistice Agreement:

  • Suspended open hostilities
  • Withdrew all military forces and equipment from a 4,000-meter-wide zone, establishing the Demilitarized Zone as a buffer between the forces
  • Prevented both sides from entering the air, ground, or sea areas under control of the other
  • Arranged the release and repatriation of prisoners of war and displaced persons
  • Established the Military Armistice Commission (MAC) and other agencies to discuss any violations and to ensure adherence to the truce terms

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The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ):

Immediately after the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed, the Korean Demilitarized Zone went into effect. The DMZ is a border barrier that runs across the Korean Peninsula and divides North and South Korea. In the Armistice, both North and South Korea agreed to move their troops back 2,000 meters from the 38th parallel; this created the buffer zone. Located within the DMZ is the village of Panmunjom where the Armistice was signed. Panmunjom is considered to be the “truce village” because this is the central location of conferences that take place when issues arise between North and South Korea, their allies, and the United Nations.  

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The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to honoring the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country while serving in the Korean War. Nearly 90% of all cash donations the Purple Heart Foundation receives provide funds for programs that help the National Service Officer Program, the Scholarship program, as well as other programs. It is our goal to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for all of our men and women in uniform who defend our freedom every day. Show your support for them by making a one-time or monthly pledge to make sure they continue to receive the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.

Symbols of Freedom

The United States of America was founded 241 years ago. Over the almost two and a half centuries that we have called the United States of America home, this country has changed vastly. One thing that has not changed is the pride we have in our country. Pride in the USA comes in the form of many symbols and icons. We salute the American Flag, visit historical sites, and and use these symbols and icons on many items today. These symbols have transcended time and allow us to show future generations how our nation has stayed strong for over two centuries.

American Flag

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The American Flag is a quintessential piece of our nation’s history. It has gone through many variations over the years to become the Stars and Bars we know today. Until 1912, there was no set design and because of the different variations, there are believed to be hidden messages. From 13 stars representing the 13 original colonies to 15 stars and stripes being the inspiration for our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, the flag has shown our nation’s history and flown proudly since its inception.

Statue of Liberty

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Lady Liberty has been greeting immigrants and citizens to the United States for over 130 years. She was a gift of friendship from France and is a universal symbol for democracy and the knowledge that in times of peril, Americans will defend their right to freedom. On October 28, 1886, “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” was dedicated.In 1924, it was dedicated as a national monument, and since 1933, the National Park Service has been taking care of the copper work to keep it a sight worth seeing for tourists and United States residents alike.

Liberty Bell

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“Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.” The Liberty Bell, originally called the State House bell was used in the tower of the Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall. The large crack in the bell is believed to be because of 90 years of being rung, but there is no account of when it happened. Today, tourists flock from all parts to take a look at this piece of history.

The Independence Hall was where major decisions were made. The Assembly Room saw George Washington appointed the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in 1775 and the Declaration of Independence was signed here one year later. The design of the American flag was decided on here in 1777, the Articles of Confederation were ratified in 1781 and the US Constitution was drawn up in the Assembly room in 1787. While the District of Columbia may be where the government is housed now, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is where the country got its start.

Washington Monument

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Decades in the making, when the Washington Monument was finished, it has invited visitors from around the world to learn more about the city that holds the seat of our government. The 555-foot marble obelisk was built to honor our nation’s first president, George Washington. Construction on the Washington monument was halted due to funds as well as the Civil War. the two-tone color is because of a change in marble and was designed by Robert Mills. The monument gives views of numerous locations in the District of Columbia including the US Capitol, National Cathedral, and the US Marine Corps Memorial.

Great Seal of the United States

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It was on July 4, 1776 that the Continental Congress passed this resolution,

“Resolved, that Dr. Franklin, Mr. J. Adams and Mr. Jefferson, be a committee, to bring in a device for a seal for the United States of America.”

These three Founding Fathers worked for six years in two more committees and with the help of a total of 14 men, they created the Great Seal of the United States on June 20, 1782. The seal’s printing has gone through many changes, but the current version has symbols of our great nation, including the bald eagle. The obverse side of the seal has,

“The most prominent feature is the American bald eagle supporting the shield, or escutcheon, which is composed of 13 red and white stripes, representing the original States, and a blue top which unites the shield and represents Congress. The motto, E Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one), alludes to this union.The olive branch and 13 arrows denote the power of peace and war, which is exclusively vested in Congress.The constellation of stars denotes a new State taking its place and rank among other sovereign powers.”

The reverse side of the seal has,

“The pyramid signifies strength and duration: The eye over it and the motto, Annuit Coeptis (He [God] has favored our undertakings), allude to the many interventions of Providence in favor of the American cause.The date underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence, and the words under it, Novus Ordo Seclorum (A new order of the ages), signify the beginning of the new American era in 1776.”

Our nation has a rich history that shows our strength, tenacity, and independence. Every day, members of our nation’s military put their lives on the line to defend these freedoms. With all of these national symbols across the country, the military itself is a symbol of how individuals band together in times of need to defend what is rightfully ours and keep our nation free for generations to come.
Our military men and women selflessly fight to protect our country and they will always be  remembered for their bravery, just as we have monuments and symbols to honor what they have done throughout the centuries. The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to helping provide assistance to ALL members of the military, veterans, and families. Nearly 90% of cash donations the Purple Heart Foundation receive provides funds for programs that help the National Service Officer Program, the Scholarship program, as well as other programs. It is our goal to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for our men and women in uniform who have sacrificed for our freedom. Show your support for them by making a one-time or monthly pledge to make sure they continue to receive the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.

Patton & York: Heroes from the Meuse-Argonne Offensive

Of the 4.7 million soldiers to fight in World War I, few may be more famous than Alvin C. York and George S. Patton Jr. Although they came from different backgrounds, jobs, and ranks they came together on the same battlefield. York was born in Pall Mall, Tennessee to a family of blacksmiths and farmers with limited education.  York initially opposed his draft into the United States Army, stating his faith prohibited violence. Patton, on the other hand, was born in San Gabriel, California to a family with an extensive military background. He followed their footsteps and attended the Virginia Military Institute and the U.S Military Academy at West Point. Despite the difference in backgrounds, York and Patton became two of the most decorated soldiers in World War I, eventually sharing battle space during one of the largest and bloodiest offensives in American history, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

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General George S. Patton (left) and Major Alvin C. York (right)

On September 26, 1918, Patton led a troop of tanks in an attack on German machine guns. During combat he was severely injured but still commanded the battle before being evacuated, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions. He later received the Purple Heart for his wounds upon the creation of the award in 1932.

During the second phase of the Offensive, York and thirteen privates were ordered to invade German lines and silence a machine gun position. Six were killed and three were wounded leaving York the highest ranking soldier. Courageously, he exchanged shots with 30 machine guns and six German soldiers charging him with bayonets. Once German First Lieutenant Paul Vollmer realized the number of men he was losing, he surrendered his unit. York captured 132 German soldiers that day which enabled the U.S to capture Decauville Railroad. He was later awarded with the Medal of Honor for his bravery.  

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Returning home from the war, York was an international celebrity for his distinguished service, but did not want to profit from his actions. Instead, he wanted to improve educational opportunities for children in rural Tennessee. He started the Alvin C. York Foundation as well as an interdenominational Bible School. Patton’s legacy on the other hand, had just begun to develop as he eventually became a top general and key leader in World War II.

On December 21, 1945, at age 60 Patton passed away due to injuries from a car accident. He was buried abroad at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg as a request to be buried with his men. On September 2, 1964, York passed away at the Veterans Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee at age 76, and was buried in Wolf River Cemetery in Pall Mall. Patton and York’s actions have impacted American history and will always be remembered.

Our military men and women selflessly fight to protect our country and they will always be  remembered for their bravery. The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to helping provide assistance to ALL members of the military, veterans, and families. Nearly 90% of cash donations the Purple Heart Foundation receive provides funds for programs that help the National Service Officer Program, the Scholarship program, as well as other programs. It is our goal to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for our men and women in uniform who have sacrificed for our freedom. Show your support for them by making a one-time or monthly pledge to make sure they continue to receive the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.

PTSD Therapy: Healing the Invisible Wound

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects many of our veterans when they make the transition from the battlefield to the home front. It is considered an invisible wound that affects the mental state of soldiers and makes it difficult for them to live a normal life. There are many forms of therapy that are used to help veterans battle PTSD.

Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT) is one form of counseling that the VA provides for veterans with PTSD. CBT has two forms that the VA uses to help veterans. They are the Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and the Prolonged Exposure (PE) Therapy.

  • Cognitive therapy is used to help veterans make changes on how they perceive their trauma and the aftermath. The goal of cognitive therapy is to get veterans to see how certain thoughts about their trauma can cause them to stress and make matters worse. Therapists are also used to help veterans expose the things that make them feel afraid and how to overcome the feeling.
  • Exposure therapy is used to help veterans create less fear about their memories. This form of therapy positions that people will learn to fear the thoughts, situations, and feelings that remind them of the specific traumatic event and will try to avoid the things that may remind them of the event. To combat this, therapists are used to help veterans talk about the trauma so eventually they will be able to control their thoughts and feelings toward the event or events that led to the trauma. Through desensitization veterans focus first on the memories that are less upsetting and eventually work themselves up to the worst memories to help them deal with their entire trauma a little bit at a time. Another coping mechanism that is used in exposure therapy is different types of breathing exercises that can help veterans with PTS relax.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is another form of therapy that is used to help veterans with PTS. This form of therapy is used to give veterans something to focus on while they are thinking or talking about their traumatic memories.

Group therapy is another form of treatment for PTSD. Veterans who have PTSD are more willing to talk about their trauma with people who also share some of the same experiences. The focus of this therapy is to allow veterans to build self-confidence and move forward with their life while focusing on the future and not the past.

Brief psychodynamic psychotherapy is another form of therapy that VA recognizes as a treatment for PTS. With this therapy, veterans learn the ways in which their past traumatic events affect the way they feel now. Therapists are used to help veterans identify the things that may trigger their memories, find the ways in which they can cope with their feelings, recognize their feelings and thoughts so they can change their reactions to them, and raise their self-esteem.

Family therapy is also a form of therapy that can be beneficial to veterans who are battling about PTSD and its effects. Family therapy helps veterans connect with their family and help families gain insights on how to better help their relatives battling PTSD.

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Medication is used to help veterans deal with the stress they may be experiencing when they think about their trauma. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are medications that are used that help control the effects of PTSD.

Among these researched forms of therapy for the treatment of PTSD, there are many other activities veterans do to help them with their PTSD. Some of these have not been clinically tested but come from the personal stories of veterans who have shared the mechanisms they use such as:

Service dogs and other animals, such as horses, have also been used to treat PTSD. Service dogs have become one of the most known forms of emotional support for veterans. Some of the benefits dogs provide for veterans are their ability to provide companionship, allow veterans to express their feelings of love, they can reduce stress, and they can also help veterans build relationships with the people around them.

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The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to offer assistance to our service men and women who are battling PTSD. It is our mission to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for all of our men and women in uniform who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Individuals can find numerous resources on our website, and it is with the generous contributions of our supporters that we are able to make all of our service men and women our priority. You can show your support for all of our servicemen and women by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure they continue to receive the support they need and deserve by donating here.

The Birth of America: Celebrating Independence Day

A day for grilling outside, watching fireworks, and paying tribute to the anniversary of our nation’s birth. Independence Day is celebrated on the Fourth of July to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence almost 241 years ago. At that time, the Continental Congress declared the original thirteen American colonies as its own nation and no longer under British rule.

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As early as 1777, Americans have been celebrating the birth of our great nation. On July 4th of that year, thirteen gunshots were fired once in the morning as well as at night in Bristol, Rhode Island. Philadelphia residents celebrated in a similar manner and ships in port were decked out in red, white, and blue bunting we still see in Independence Day decorations today.

Americans nationwide take the day to celebrate through fireworks, baseball games, fairs, and other activities as well volunteer, hold public and private events, and share their patriotism in numerous other ways.  There will be a Macy’s fireworks display in New York City that has been televised across the nation since 1976 on NBC and on the Capitol lawn in Washington, DC, there will be the annual A Capitol Fourth concert, which is broadcast and free to the public.

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On Independence Day, we also celebrate those who have fought to give us the very independence we are celebrating: our nation’s men and women in uniform. This year, the NASCAR industry salutes the military this weekend. NASCAR will continue their efforts to show appreciation for members of the military through their NASCAR Salutes Refreshed by Coca-Cola, NASCAR XFINITY Series. Drivers will have the names of various US active military units and installations displayed on their windshields during the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway tonight.

Driver Matt Tifft will honor the 3rd Infantry Division based out of Ft. Stewart, GA; Brennan Poole will have “1BCT, 10TH MTN DIV” in honor of the 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team stationed out of Fort Drum, New York; and Harrison Rhodes will pay tribute to the “56TH CIVIL ENGINEER SQ” based out of Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. In addition, three Medal of Honor recipients will also be recognized at Daytona.

Celebrating Independence Day can also come in the form of words. The Military Order of the Purple Heart recently held an essay writing contest in the state of Michigan on Americanism. Isabella Rosenthal was selected the third place winner with her essay on “Why We Celebrate Independence Day” at Central Middle School in Iron Mountain, MI.

Art exhibits, such as one in Santa Clarita, CA, concerts, and parades are also prominent ways to display patriotism and love of country. Other ways to show patriotism include going to visit VA medical centers for wounded veterans, visiting war memorials across the country, and writing letters to those who are serving our nation abroad and are not able to spend time at home enjoying the freedoms they are fighting for.

No matter how you choose to spend your Independence Day, be sure to thank a servicemember or veteran for their service to our great nation. Without their devotion to our country, we would not be able to live lives of choice and freedom within the United States of America.

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We at the Purple Heart Foundation are committed to offer assistance to those men and women who have served our country since its inception in 1776. It is our mission to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for our men and women in uniform who have sacrificed for our freedom. You can show your support for these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure veterans continue to get the support they deserve by donating here.