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The Purple Heart was created by General George Washington in 1782 to recognize exemplary military service. General Douglas McArthur reestablished the medal in 1932. The medal is made of a purple cloth cut in the shape of a heart with the word “Merit” sewn upon it. Since 1932, the Purple Heart could only be awarded for being wounded or killed by enemy action. The Purple Heart is the oldest American military decoration. It is the highest award that is automatically given to any officer or enlisted person as soon as the criteria are met, meaning there is no proposal or review like other awards for valor or merit. It can also be awarded multiple times for wounds received on separate occasions. During a meeting held on October 12, 2021, the Stoneham Select Board proclaimed that the Town of Stoneham is a Purple Heart Community, honoring the service of our nation's men and women in uniform, wounded or killed by the enemy while serving to protect our freedoms. August 7th is now considered Purple Heart Day in Stoneham. The Select Board encourages residents and businesses in town to display the Purple Heart flag as well as other public expressions to recognize Purple Heart recipients on that day, honoring the service and sacrifice of our military personnel.
This year, in early August, the town will hold a dedication ceremony for becoming a Purple Heart community at which time we would like to recognize those Stoneham residents who have been recipients of the Purple Heart medal. Please reach out to our Veteran's Agent Melanie Mendel if you or a family member who resides in Stoneham would allow us to recognize such service and sacrifice. Melanie can be reached at 781.279.2664 or firstname.lastname@example.org.