Frontier to Nation: The 380 Year Journey of The National Guard

It’s hard to imagine a time in the country without the National Guard. That’s because it predates the founding of the nation, the signing of the Charters of Freedom, and even before the colonists dumped tea into Boston Harbor. The Guard is part of the reserve components of the United States Army and is made of units from each state and the territories.

The difference between the National Guard and the United States Armed Forces is the Guard serves both state and federal governments and is a volunteer, part-time force. This year on December 13th, the National Guard will celebrate 380 years of service to the United States of America and its territories.

The Guard dates back to the late 1630’s, when it was first organized to be a readied force in the Salem, Massachusetts area. Many of the original colonies felt that it was necessary to provide protection for its people during the process of drawing the colonial border lines. The English settlers had also made failed attempts to colonize in parts of the Massachusetts frontier and in other parts of the continent.

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The Massachusetts General Court in Salem wanted to create a colonial wide force to keep the peace, to defend the colonies from any aggressors, and to expand colonization of the continent by having a force trained in military tactics. On December 13th, the General Court issued a proclamation to establish an “able-bodied” militia made up of local men between the ages of 16 and 60. This was the first time in the history of the continent that a direct declaration was issued to create a fighting force.

In modern times, The National Guard has been mobilized during raging storms and changing tides. Throughout history, their mobilization helped during the American Revolution as the country expanded towards freedom from Great Britain. The Guard protected African-American children get to school during the integration of the American education system. When Hurricane Katrina came ashore in Louisiana, the National Guard from the surrounding states came together to help save lives and deliver food to those in need.

The National Guard began protecting the frontier and people of 13 unruly colonies. In modern times, The National Guard stands at 1.4 million strong. It is an all volunteer force that protects 50 United States, the territories, works part-time, and can be mobilized to deploy abroad to assist their counterparts of the Armed Forces.

“The National Guard has served America as both a wartime force and the first military responders in times of domestic crisis. Hundreds of times each year, the nation’s governors call upon their Guard troops to respond to fires, floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters,” said Russel Honore retired Lieutenant General and 33rd Commanding General of the U.S. First Army at Fort Gillem.

The National Guard has even deployed abroad to fight alongside the military in campaigns during World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In World War I, the units of the Guard made up 40% of the expeditionary forces. In World War II, nearly 175,000 guardsmen gave their lives for the ideals of freedom for all. Nearly 139,000 guardsman reported for duty during the Korean War from 1950-1952. Lastly, nearly 50% of the guardsmen have deployed overseas for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The work for them never stops.

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There are several historic events, at home, that stand out in the national memory where The National Guard had to step in to to help the citizenry of the United States.

In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that all American schools should be integrated with no racial barrier. However, the governor in Arkansas did not agree with the landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education and decided to place the Arkansas National Guard in front of Central High School. This move was to prevent African-American students from entering the school thus continuing a long tradition of segregation.

The students who were turned away from the school became known as the Little Rock Nine. Eventually, President Dwight Eisenhower intervened and ordered the National Guard to escort the children to school in a peaceful and orderly manner. In an address to the nation the president stated, “The running of our school system and the maintenance of peace and order in each of our States are strictly local affairs and the Federal Government does not interfere except in a very few special cases and when requested by one of the several States. In the present case the troops are there, pursuant to law, solely for the purpose of preventing interference with the orders of the Court.” The students did have the chance to attend school but still faced the bitterness of racial discrimination.

Hurricane Katrina was one of the most devastating natural disasters in the history of the United States with a death toll over 1,800 between the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. It is yet another example where The National Guard moved into to help their fellow countrymen and women. There were some 50,000 guardsmen that jumped into action. In an article by the US Army, retired Army Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum said, “By any measure, it was the fastest, most massive military response to any natural disaster that has ever happened. Our response was the epitome of what the National Guard is and why it is a national treasure.” The guardsmen had to act quickly to restore peace and order in the parishes, deliver supplies, rescue those who needed help, and much more. It has been described as their “finest hour.”

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Much has changed in the United States of America in 380 years. Since the beginning, when settlers came from far off lands to start anew in America, their hope for a better tomorrow was at the forefront of their thoughts. There was most certainly a need to provide safe communities for everyone. It took a colonial court in 1636 to establish a protective and expeditionary force of farmers, businessmen, and boys. However, over the years as America grew so did The National Guard. It became an organized and well trained force that provided assistance at home and abroad. The times and people of the country has changed but one thing that has remained the same is the commitment of The National Guard.

Presently, acts of their duty are on display as the Tennessee National Guard battles the wildfires in East Tennessee. The Purple Heart Foundation remains committed to assisting veterans in all aspects of their lives. Nearly 90% of cash donations fund the National Service Officer Program, the Scholarship Program, service dog programs, and other recreational and rehabilitative programs. The Purple Heart Foundation wants to convey appreciation for The National Guard and extend best wishes on their 380th Birthday! You can show your support for these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for America by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure veterans continue to get the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.


 

On #GivingTuesday Honor their Sacrifice with Your Support

Businessman Larry H. Miller challenged a generation by saying, “Go out into the world and do good until there is too much good in the world.” Mr. Miller understood that doing good for others could be life changing. The men and women who have served and that are serving the United States of America have delivered the gift of freedom. On #GivingTuesday join us in our mission to show your appreciation.

On Tuesday November 29th, 2016, you will have the chance to make a difference in someone’s life. For the third year in a row, The Purple Heart Foundation is taking part in #GivingTuesday which is the largest single giving day of the year. This day was created to mirror the meaning of the holiday season. So, when you are dining with family on Thanksgiving or standing in line on Black Friday, just remember the men and women who have made it possible.

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“As you gather with your families, we ask that you keep in mind those men and women fighting to keep us safe,” said Stephen Ruckman, Chief Executive Officer of The Purple Heart Foundation. “Our organization is the only veteran service organization whose membership is made up entirely of combat wounded veterans.”

Last year, 138 supporters participated in #GivingTuesday which helped raise over $10,000 to continue our lifesaving programs. Based on early results, the giving season of 2016 will be a successful one for The Purple Heart Foundation. That is why it is imperative to sign up for a monthly recurring donation or give a one-time gift.

The Purple Heart Foundation strives every day to honor the sacrifice of American service men and women. Signing up to be a supporter would help to fund programs utilized by thousands of veterans for years to come.  Through #GivingTuesday, the Purple Heart Foundation is able to raise money to make initiatives like the National Service Officer Program, the Service Dog Program, the Scholarship Program, and other rehabilitative and recreational programs available. The Purple Heart Foundation would like to remind all of its supporters that at least 90% of your cash donations will go to programs like these.

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The National Service Officer program comprises the National Appeals Office in Washington D.C., the Court of Veteran Appeals and the National Outreach program. The Purple Heart Foundation assists all veterans, their dependents, surviving spouses and orphans by:

  • Educating veterans about their benefits and entitlements.

  • Processing veterans’ claims for compensation, pension, medical care, education, job training, employment, housing, and death and burial benefits.

  • Providing quality, professional representation for veterans whose benefits were denied at the local VA regional office.

  • Employing a full-time attorney and presenting veterans’ claims before the court.

  • Serving on the President’s Committee for employment of people with disabilities.

  • Providing services to veterans in rural and urban areas.

  • Reaching out to handicapped and destitute veterans unable to visit a VA regional office.

  • Identifying and helping homeless veterans.

The Purple Heart Foundation has provided funds to service dog programs totaling $75,000 over the years. Multiple studies have shown that service dogs can be a life saving and life changing asset for many of our veterans. They are taught to open gates, turn on lights, provide a sense of calm, retrieve and carry objects and more. Those making the transition from the battlefield to the home front might need this companion to help them live a normal life. The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to assisting veterans in all aspects of their lives, including service dog programs and other rehabilitative programs.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly one million veterans are taking advantage of their GI benefits, and that number is expected to increase by 20% in the coming years. The Scholarship Program awards up to $200,000 annually to provide financial support to Purple Heart recipients and their families. The scholarship covers the direct costs of higher education. It assists with items like tuition, books, incidental fees, and room and board. This program could give an entire generation a chance to be the next champions of innovation that America desperately needs.

“While our membership is exclusively made up of combat wounded veterans, these programs allow us to help all veterans make a smooth transition from the battlefield to the home front,” said Ruckman.

A new social media initiative was created this year called #GiveMe10. It was created to symbolize that our servicemen and women use their two hands to keep us safe and that with your hands you can give back. That is why you can make a donation of $10 a month or give a one time donation to show your appreciation. These individuals have sacrificed so much to deliver the ultimate gift to each American, freedom. That freedom allows you to go to work every day, tuck your kids in at night, and to join your family in fellowship during the holidays.

 

“Please join us and become a supporter of The Purple Heart Foundation so that we may continue to honor their sacrifice through our service,” said Ruckman.

This year, do all the good you can for the men and women who have served and are serving the United States of America. Contribute something that you feel can make a difference in the life of a veteran. #GivingTuesday is just one day in which you can lend your support and The Purple Heart Foundation hopes you will continue to give back in the new year as well. The Purple Heart Foundation remains committed to assisting veterans in all aspects of their lives, including service dog programs, other rehabilitative programs, and disability benefits. You can show your support for these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country by ensuring veterans continue to get the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.


Giving Thanks for Freedom this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to look back on the year gone by and reflect what you are thankful for. Thankfulness can come in many forms–having a new job, being able to provide for your family, or keeping friendships alive. For Americans, we have an extra reason to be thankful. Men and women in uniform working overseas and domestically make it possible for us to live in a free country.

For those who are overseas during the Thanksgiving holiday, the feeling can be bittersweet. Some are in war-torn areas fighting the enemy and most are away from the comforts of home and their families. There have been 152 recognized Thanksgiving holidays since its inception and despite being in unfamiliar territory, the armed forces have tried to make Thanksgiving as normal as possible for those deployed.

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Even though the first nationally recognized Thanksgiving was not observed by the military because of a shortage of resources, over the years, there has been a push to have a Thanksgiving meal, regardless of where a service member is stationed. This food is usually gathered starting in May and sent out with the temperature-controlled food taking up to three months to reach its destination.

According to the Department of Defense, this is how much food was shipped out to various military bases across the world to prepare for a Thanksgiving feast last year:

  • 51,699 pounds of turkey

  • 25,970 pounds of beef

  • 17,130 pounds of ham

  • 706 gallons of eggnog

  • 3,360 pounds of marshmallows

That is the equivalent to:

  • 17 adult female hippos

  • 14 1/2 Smart cars

  • 24 male zebras

  • 45 1/2 full kegs of beer

  • 122 gold bars

The gathering of food doesn’t just stop at traditional holiday fare either. The Oak Lawn Park district in Illinois held its 6th annual Treats for Troops drive to send leftover and extra Halloween candy to those serving overseas.

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While having a hot dinner can help stave off the feeling of homesickness during the holiday season, physically being with family and friends can make the holidays that much better. Spencer Girard, a seaman stationed in Norfolk, VA won a “Happy ThanksGathering” lottery to be the only person out of all the sailors and Marines stationed to be reunited with his family for the holiday. Katherine Girard said she hadn’t seen her son in a year and a half and being with him for the holidays last November was extra special, “The way they did it was just … oh my goodness. I didn’t know Norfolk was the world’s largest naval station, but you see when you get there. They spent a huge amount of money to treat everyone to a great Thanksgiving.”

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On November 5, 2016, in the Albuquerque Convention Center while being welcomed back with the 126th Military Police Company from the Middle East, Specialist Rene Lopez held her daughter Amaya as her husband Specialist Jassen Lopez looked on. The couple were deployed to Kuwait together and left their four children, ages 3 to 8, in the care of family.

“Thanksgiving has come early to the people of the state of New Mexico,” Brigadier General Andy Salas, the state Guard’s adjutant general, told the crowd. The 120 soldiers who performed custom inspections-type work in maritime ports and airports across different parts of the Middle East wasn’t due back to the United States until January.

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Kristen Smith, an Army wife, understands the changing nature of spending the holidays with someone in the military. Last year, she recalled how different the past 11 Thanksgivings have been with, and without, her husband. Thanksgiving celebrations varied greatly from sitting on the couch with her son watching movies to finally having her husband home last year for a “shockingly normal holiday.” For Smith, having such different variations of celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday has helped her be grateful in a way that she “could never have understood 12 years ago.”

During this holiday season, and every season, we are thankful for the work our troops do overseas so we can enjoy the freedom we have today. 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.


241 Years of Strength Through Service: Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps

“There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion,” said General William Thomson of the United States Army. The United States of America was born in a hall in the middle of a sweltering summer when men from all corners of the colonies came together to discuss separating from Great Britain. These men knew that declaring independence would eventually bring war to their shores.

At the dawn of the revolution, farmers, blacksmiths, and business owners organized to fight for independence. A large majority of the colonists believed that a full separation from Great Britain would remedy the injustices of high taxes. That initial formation by these tradesmen gave birth to a Continental Navy and eventually the Continental Marines.

The United States of America has been protected by a military force unlike any other since the beginning of the republic. But there was a need to create forces that would be able to protect the homeland and the ships of the Continental Navy. On November 10th, 1775, the Continental Congress met to form a new service branch of the Department of the Navy that would be able to serve and protect.

According to a decree, “That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one Colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, two majors and other officers, as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal number of privates as with other battalions, that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to offices, or enlisted into said battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve for and during the present war with Great Britain and the Colonies; unless dismissed by Congress; that they be distinguished by the names of the First and Second Battalions of Marines.” They would later be disbanded in 1783 and reformed into the modern day United States Marine Corps in 1798.

The first “Captain of the Marines”, or what is now known as the Commandant of the Marines Corps, Samuel Nicholas led the Corps though multiple missions and helped to transform it into the body it is today. Upon receiving his commission, Nicholas used Tun Tavern as a recruiting station to have young men sign up. At the end of 1775, Captain Nicholas raised five companies of Marines and sailed with them to the shores of the Bahamas in their first international battle.

In March of 1776, he led over 200 men in a bloody raid on Nassau, catching the British by surprise. Their success led to the capture of two forts, 88 cannon, 15 mortars, and multiple military storage facilities. Under the leadership of Captain Nicholas, the Marines racked up many successful battles during the revolution.

The Marine Corp has led the fight in battles like Iwo Jima, Belleau Wood, and the Chosin Reservoir. Their determination led them into battle with clear eyes that kept focused on completing their assigned mission. It was their grit that led them through each battle, fighting with precision, keeping each other safe, and making sure the enemy was stopped.

The United States Marines are considered the most “ancient” of the branches because of its philosophy and training techniques. The idea behind the culture is that each Marine become an elite warrior in defense of the United States. It has worked for 241 years and is still going strong. These men and women join a branch of the military that is combat oriented. As they train for war, they are taught to be brutal but to never lose their humanity. The safety and security of the United States of America is the ultimate objective which is met with the utmost seriousness. Author Thomas E. Ricks said it best, “The United States Marine Corps, with its fiercely proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth.”

The United States Marine Corps continues to be the first line of defense around the world. They have defended the District of Columbia from the British during the War of 1812. As an international force, the Marines have protected many American interests. From the coasts of the Caribbean and the Falkland Islands to the jungles of Vietnam and the desserts of Iraq. The Marines have lived up to their motto, “Semper Fidelis” which translates to “Always Faithful.” They ignite fear in the soul of the enemy and fill each American with pride. Even the German soldiers referred to the Marines as the “Teufel Hunden” or “Devil Dogs” for their ferocious fighting style in World War I. The nickname is now used to motivate Marines in battle. After 241 years, these patriots have improved modern warfare with a steady hand and down to the bone toughness.

To those “leathernecks” and “devil dogs” who have served our nation, we thank you for dedicating your lives to being a Marine. We thank you for the grit and determination it took to protect us all here at home. To those who are serving us abroad from the shores of Okinawa to the hills of Afghanistan, we appreciate the sacrifice you are making for us each and every day.

The Marine Corps still considers November 10th, 1775 as their official birthday. We at the Purple Heart Foundation celebrate the 241 years that the Marine Corps have dedicated their lives to protecting our nation. Since 1775, the United States Marine Corps has transitioned from defending 13 colonies to serving 50 united and organized states. That service began here at home with the inception of our nation and has reached far beyond our shores. The Purple Heart Foundation wishes you all a very Happy 241st Birthday. Help us continue our mission of honoring their sacrifice with our service by donating here today. Semper Fi!


 

Annual #GivingTuesday Kickoff

We at the Purple Heart Foundation are committed to giving back to our veterans who have sacrificed for the good of our great nation.We believe that giving back helps make their lives a bit easier. This year, we are participating in the #GivingTuesday campaign for the third year in a row.

#GivingTuesday is a movement that began in 2012 with New York’s 92nd Street Y organization, and they partnered with the United Nations Foundation. Giving Tuesday falls on the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday with this year’s date being November 29. This day is meant to be a global day of giving that allows people to give back to their favorite non-profit organizations through donations.

Since its inception, more than 41,000 organizations in 71 countries have held their own #GivingTuesday campaigns. According to Giving Tuesday, the statistics for who participates in this movement continue to grow:

  • 62% of organizations that participated in 2015 participated for the first time.

  • 97% of organizations that have held campaigns plan to hold them again this year.

  • 67% of those who participate would recommend #GivingTuesday to a colleague.

In the next four five weeks, we will be unveiling new information about our organization’s #GivingTuesday on our social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. We’ll also be doing a special launch of information on our Instagram page ahead of November 29, as well as letting the public know ways in which they can get involved in the movement. You also have the chance to be featured on our social media platforms using the hashtag #GivingTuesday to help spread awareness about the movement..

The objective of the Purple Heart Foundation’s #GivingTuesday campaign is to help generate funds for programs that help our veterans. #GivingTuesday celebrates the generosity of those who give by providing people everywhere with an opportunity to give more, give smarter, and give great to organizations such as ours. In conjunction with the campaign, we are also launching our first-ever #GiveMe10 campaign.

We honor the sacrifice of our veterans with our service daily at the Purple Heart Foundation. Our servicemen and women fight for our country in peacetime and war with their own two hands and some end up making the ultimate sacrifice for the good of our country.

The #GiveMe10 campaign is a way to honor the sacrifices of our military with our own two hands through support programs and charitable donations.The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to assisting veterans in all aspects of their lives.

By giving just $10, you will help us fund programs like the Service Officer Program, scholarship program, and more. Please donate today and through #GivingTuesday to help support your veterans and continue our mission of helping those transitioning from the battlefield to the home front by clicking here.


Paralympics Rio 2016

This year’s Olympic games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil was full of exceeded expectations, excitement, and more. In addition to Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, and other Olympians, there were 19 servicemen and women who qualified for a position on the Team USA roster–15 active-duty personnel, 2 veterans, 1 Navy civilian, and 1 incoming midshipman to the Naval Academy, including Spc. Dan Lowe, Regine Tugade, and 2nd. Lt. Sam Hendricks.

Out of all 121 medals, Army Specialist Paul Chelimo received one of the 37 silver medals awarded. Chelimo, who was born in Kenya, won the silver in the men’s 5,000 meter run. After the race, he was informed by a television reporter that he was disqualified from the race for infringement in another athlete’s lane, but the ruling was later overturned. Chelimo ran his best time of 13 minutes, 3.94 seconds, right behind Great Britain’s Mo Farah.

Chelimo was a part of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, which he credits for being the reason he was able to compete in Rio, “I’m only here because of these Army Soldiers,” Fanning said. “That’s the reason I’m part of this delegation. But it was fun for the entire delegation to have an extra reason to cheer, not just for the United States but for the Army, so they were screaming loudly for him: ‘Who’s your Soldier? Who’s your Soldier?’”

Chelimo’s next tour will not be overseas with fellow soldiers, but throughout the United States as a trainer with the World Class Athlete Program, inspiring the youth in this country to follow their dreams.

With the Olympics at a close, it’s time to turn our attention to the 15th Paralympic Games, which will also be held in Rio. Of the Paralympians competing, there are 20 soldiers, six Marines, three sailors, and one airman across the 23 sports being showcased.

In addition to Brad Synder, a sailor who lost his eyesight in Afghanistan and holds the world record for the blind 100-meter freestyle, there is Anthony McDaniel competing in Para Rugby and Elizabeth Marks, competing in Para Swimming, among other athletes and veterans. McDaniel lost his legs and left hand in 2010 from an improvised explosive device while serving as a Marine in Afghanistan and Marks suffered severe hip injuries while an Army combat medic in Iraq in 2010, which left her with no sensation in her left leg.

McDaniel said back in 2014 that adaptive sports helped give him a sense of tranquility after spending more than a year in rehab following the IED explosion in August 2010, “It’s just been helping me stay focused and positive,” McDaniel said. “It keeps me out and active every day.”

Marks told ESPN that the medals she earns in her competitions are not the end game–to her, the process of competing is more gratifying and thinks back to helping others during her time as a combat medic, “When I step onto the blocks, I never think, ‘I want to win,'” she says. “I think, ‘I want to pour all of myself into this race because there are people who can’t physically, mentally or emotionally, do that.’ So it’s my way of performing for them.”

The Paralympics are now days away from the start of the 15th Paralympics. It runs from September 7-18. We salute these servicemen and women and are excited to see how they compete and represent the United States and their respective military branches.

The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to assisting not just the Veterans of the Paralympics, but all veterans who have served our country. Show your support for these brave men and women by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure Veterans continue to get the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.


Purple Heart Day 2016

August 7 marks National Purple Heart Day. The holiday, which was first observed two years ago commemorates those who have received a Purple Heart Medal and gives recognition for the sacrifices members of the U.S. armed forces have made. Those who have received this prestigious medal gave all they had for the good of our country.

The ‘Badge of Military Merit’ was first given to soldiers in the Revolutionary War by General George Washington in 1782. It signified “being wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed forces.” At the time of the Badge of Merit inception, Washington instructed that it be given as appropriate with no set criteria for awarding the Badge of Merit.

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.

As of 2010, approximately 2 million Purple Heart Medals have been awarded to members of the US Armed Forces. The Purple Heart has also been awarded retroactively to include those who fit the criteria from the First World War.

One of the benefits of having Purple Heart Day is hear from veterans who lived during dark periods in history and are able to share stories about courage, honor, and strength. All across the country on Aug. 7, communities will come together to celebrate this special group of American citizens and pay their respects for the ones who lost their lives fighting for our freedom.

This Purple Heart Day, take some time out of your day and listen and share stories about veterans and the strength they showed during their time in the military. It is because of them that we are able to truly celebrate their accomplishments with this holiday and remember and honor the sacrifices all our veterans have made over the years.

The Purple Heart Foundation works with all veterans from all wars. Having a Purple Heart medal is not a prerequisite for service members to receive assistance from the Purple Heart Foundation. This Purple Heart Day, join the Purple Heart Foundation by making a charitable donation in honor or memorial of someone you know that has served our country. With the assistance of generous supporters like yourself, the Purple Heart Foundation is able to continue assisting veterans and their families. There are many ways you can get involved:

 


 

Happy Fathers’ Day to All the Military Dads

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When the governor of Washington proclaimed the first Father’s Day in 1910, people—mostly men—had mixed feelings about a day to celebrate fathers. One historian wrote, “they scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products–often paid for by the father himself.”

However, during World War II, advertisers began promoting the day as a way to support American troops and the war. Father’s Day didn’t become a federal holiday until 1972; but by the end of the war, it had become widely adopted as a day to celebrate dads.

Now on the third Sunday of every June, we officially honor our fathers, especially those who are active or former military. Here are some ideas for how to celebrate all the military dads this year.

Deployed Dads

Economists estimate that Americans spend more than $1 billion a year on Father’s Day gifts, and gift-giving holidays aren’t quite as much fun when the recipient isn’t there to receive them.

Host a video chat.

Most dads will tell you, Father’s Day is about being with family. So bring the family to them through a video chat. There are many platforms, like Skype, that offer video chat, or VOIP services. You just need to determine how you will access the service—on a smart phone, tablet or computer—and who will join the call.

Check out some of the different apps you can use to host the perfect Father’s Day video chat.

 Share a video.

It’s not always possible to have a live video chat, but you can still send your smiling faces from afar with a short, day-in-the life video or a message from the family. You can create a video and upload it to YouTube as public, unlisted or private, so you can determine who is able to view it.

 

Active Duty Dads

If you’re lucky enough to have the guest of honor at home, take him out for some family-friendly fun.

Head to a ball game.

Baseball is America’s pastime, and many Major League Baseball teams, including the Washington Nationals, the Baltimore Orioles, and the Houston Astros, offer military discounts on tickets throughout the season.

Throw a barbeque.

Have a get together with other military families, especially those missing their dads this weekend. Spending time with other people going through the same things and supporting those who have loved ones deployed is a great way to celebrate all the military dads.

 

Veteran Dads

Father’s Day is a great time to take a moment and honor dad for his military service.

Create a commemorative video.

Dads love telling stories, and most veterans have many to tell. A nice way to celebrate a dad who is a veteran is to create a video or slideshow set to music about his time in the service. Record some of dad’s stories, find some old photos, maybe even convince a buddy who served with him to participate.

Give a military-themed gift.

You can find anything on the Internet, including great gifts for military veterans. Check out Etsy, a handmade marketplace, for military-themed products.

Or, buy a customized wooden keepsake box for him to store his medals, military papers, photos and other memorabilia from his time in the service.

Happy Father’s Day to all our military Dads. Thank you for all you do and all the sacrifices you make. We salute you. 

Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of D-Day

Today is the 70th anniversary of the WWII D-day invasion of Normandy, France. Over 156,000 troops waded or parachuted onto French soil on June 6, 1944. By the end of the day, 4,500 were dead.

On a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach, the setting of the battle’s bloodiest combat, sits Normandy American Cemetery, the burial site of 9,387 US service men and women.

World leaders are heading to France to remember the deceased and commemorate the occasion. The series of events began Thursday, the first of which honor the survivors—most now in their nineties.

Recently, a member of our team visited Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial and the D-day Beaches. It was a moving and enlightening experience

Here are a few photos from the trip
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One of the most compelling parts of the trip was learning about the heroic acts of the, often very young, service men and women.

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Sgt. Peregory risked his life during the D-Day invasion by single handedly attacking a fortified German machine-gun emplacement, killing several and taking more than 30 prisoners. He received The Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart.