Athletes, actors and musicians have countless halls of fame and other venues to celebrate their accomplishments. In our area, we have the baseball, soccer and boxing halls of fame. That’s okay. Many athletes and musicians have made contributions to our society.
Now, I am happy to report, heroes of a higher order will also have a hall in their honor. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is slated to open this November -- right here in New York’s historic Hudson Valley region.
The Purple Heart medal has been awarded to nearly 2 million brave U.S. military men and women who have been wounded or killed in combat. It was started by President George Washington when he was commander of the American forces during the revolution. The New York State Senate was instrumental in securing the issuance of a postage stamp commemorating the Purple Heart award.
The Purple Heart Hall of Honor aims to preserve the extraordinary stories of all recipients, deceased or alive, through videotaped interviews, photos, letters and other mementos, as well as an Internet connection to classrooms and libraries.
The New Windsor Cantonment Historic Site in Vails Gate, Orange County, was designated by The Military Order of the Purple Heart to be the hall’s permanent site because of its historical significance: it was the final winter camp of Gen. George Washington’s Continental Army during the American Revolution. The purple cloth Badge of Merit that Gen. Washington presented to a select few of his troops was the inspiration for The Purple Heart Medal. The image of Washington was added to the color and shape of the Badge of Merit, and in 1932, the first new Purple Heart medals were given to 150 veterans of World War I on the same historic grounds in New Windsor, New York.
Do you know of a resident in this area who received a Purple Heart? I, along with the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, would like to help register all of the local heroic recipients of this military medal. For more information and assistance with registration, contact The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, P.O. Box 207, Vails Gate, N.Y., 12584 or call (845) 561-1765. The hall is scheduled to open November 10.
Let’s help ensure that future generations around the world learn of the significant sacrifices made by past generations in the name of liberty.
While you’re at it, thank your local veterans for their efforts and sacrifices. As green leaves turn gold, we will begin thinking about observing Veterans’ Day and all that a special day like it means to us as free Americans. We would not be free were it not for our veterans. Let’s remember that as we go about our daily tasks.
Please do whatever you can to locate and register Purple Heart recipients in the new Purple Heart Hall of Honor. For more information, contact my office or check out www.nysparks.com .
Senator Seward’s office web site is www.senatorjimseward.com.