I would think that it is common knowledge at this point that just about anyone who's anyone knows that when it comes to military awards and distinctions, the Purple Heart is considered to be one of the greatest honors and is held in the highest of regards.

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The Purple Heart award is bestowed to the service men and women who not only served in the military but who were "...wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy...". In many cases, this award is granted posthumously to the families of a service men or women's family, who's loved one made the ultimate sacrifice.

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Understanding this helps put into perspective just how special of it day it was this past Saturday as the town of Pleasant Valley was bestowed the distinction of being a "Purple Heart Town".

Designation of A Purple Heart Town

Defining a Purple Heart Town is rather simple. While the individual medal honors the military recipient and their family for the sacrifices made in times of conflict, the distinction of being a Purple Heart Town means that the town and it's people thank and honor its veterans and families of veterans who were honored with the Purple Heart. In essence, this celebration is a tribute for the service men and women who's sacrifices should never be forgotten.

Two Wounded Soldiers Honored With Purple Heart At Walter Reed
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According to the Pleasant Valley Fire Company's Facebook page, the ceremony for the town was held at Mill Site Park and was put together by the Pleasant Valley Hometown Hero's Committee. The distinction of the Purple Heart while being a tremendous honor, it also welcomes people to being a part of a special group. That group would be the Military Order of the Purple Heart who's goal is to...

"...ensure Americans never forget the sacrifices, bravery and courage made by the U.S. Military Personnel".

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History of the Purple Heart

The Purple Heart actually has incredible significance here in the Hudson Valley. In fact the Purple Heart award was created here in the Hudson Valley right in Newburgh, New York. The idea for the award came from the mind of the former General of the Continental Army and America's first President, George Washington.

George Washington Statue
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Washington's idea for the Purple Heart came during a time of struggle in 1782. At this point in time, battles during the Revolutionary War had come to an end and peace negotiations were being held across the Atlantic, however the soldiers of Washington's Army who had fought and suffered through 6 long years were on the brink of mutiny.

Capture of Yorktown
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Lack of pay as well lack of rations and other supplies had soldiers of the time at their wits end, in addition Congress had taken away the power of the army generals abilities to award commissions in the field. So in addition to lack of tangible awards, soldiers efforts for past 6 years of war were going completely unrecognized. This was something that Washington was not going to let stand.

Marines Receive Purple Hearts
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This was where Washington created the concept and ideas for the "Badge of Distinction" and the "Badge of Merit". The first recipients of the Badge of Merit were Sergeant Elijah Churchill, Sergeant William Brown and Sergeant Daniel Bissell all of whom were instrumental figures for their efforts in the Revolutionary War.

Check This Out: Did You Know the Purple Heart was Created in Newburgh, NY

US Army Commemorates 240th Anniversary With Mt Vernon Ceremonies
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For more information on the Purple Heart History, I strongly encourage all to read more here.

11 Popular Military History Sites to Visit in Upstate New York

Many military engagements and wars took place in Upstate New York. Today we have many military sites to visit and relive history at.

This list is of eleven military historic sites, some big and some very small, but all played a part in keeping the flame of freedom burring for our country. While certain places, like West Point or the Saratoga Battlefield, are known to all Americans, it is the smaller places that hold maybe just a short chapter of American military history that I like best.

Maybe a ship, or a museum, or a battlefield. There is a wide range of places on this list and all offer up a great deal of interesting information for the history buff.

Gallery Credit: Chuck D'Imperio

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