SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–On May 5, 2011, aboard the USS Midway permanently docked in San Diego harbor, Ron Stroman, Deputy Postmaster General of the U.S. Postal Service unveiled the â€œPurple Heart with Ribbonâ€ forever stamp, assisted by Clayton Jones, National Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and RADM Mac McLaughlin, CEO of the USS Midway Museum.
In his remarks, Mr. Stroman noted that â€œwith the issuance of this stamp, the Postal Service, along with the rest of our nation, can pay tribute to those whose sacrifices have given all of us, a country that is truly the â€˜land of the free and the home of the brave.â€ In his remarks, Commander Jones said, â€œBecause the Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to members of the U.S. military who have been wounded or killed in action, this stamp has special meaning. Until now, the only â€˜foreverâ€™ stamp has been the Liberty Bell stamp, which is the symbol of our nationâ€™s freedom. The significance of the Purple Heart forever stamp is that it now honors the symbol of the cost of our nationâ€™s freedom. The Purple Heart Medal on every recipientâ€™s chest is a reminder that the bill for freedom is paid in full.â€
On August 7, 1782, during the Revolutionary War, General George Washington created Americaâ€™s first badge of distinction for meritorious action on the battlefield. The award was distinctive because it was available to the common soldier at a time when normally only officers were eligible for military decorations. The decoration consisted of a heart made of purple cloth, and was known as the Badge of Merit. General Washington wrote, "The road to glory in a patriot army, is thus open to all." Although the Badge of Merit fell into disuse after the Revolutionary War, it was reinstated by General Douglas MacArthur, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, on February 22, 1932 to mark the 200th anniversary of Washington’s birth. The redesigned â€œPurple Heart Medalâ€ consists of a heart shaped gold medal, suspended from a purple and white ribbon. In the center of the medal is a profile bust of George Washington mounted on a purple heart, beneath the Washington family coat of arms. On the reverse of the medal are the words â€œFor Military Merit.â€
The first Purple Heart stamp was issued in 2003. Since that time, each time the price of a first class letter changed, a letter writing campaign had to be mounted to ensure that a Purple Heart stamp would continue to be available to the public. Today, following a 12-year successful campaign by the Military Order of the Purple Heart and other veterans organizations to create a â€œforeverâ€ stamp, the new Purple Heart postage stamp will continue in circulation indefinitely, and supporters will no longer need to advocate for a new issue each time the price of stamps increases. Past National Commander Boyd Barclay, who started the campaign for a Purple Heart forever stamp in 1999, stood proudly beside current National Commander Clayton Jones and the entire MOPH leadership team on the deck of the USS Midway today to help mark the â€˜first day of issueâ€™ of the stamp.
The organization now known as the "Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. Inc.," (MOPH) was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all who have received the decoration. Chartered by the Congress, The MOPH is unique among Veteran Service Organizations in that all its members were wounded in combat. For this sacrifice, they were awarded the Purple Heart Medal. With grants from the MOPH Service Foundation, the MOPH and its Ladies Auxiliary promote Patriotism, Fraternalism, and the Preservation of America’s military history. Most importantly, they provide comfort and assistance to all Veterans and their families, especially those requiring claims assistance with the VA, those who are homeless, and those requiring employment assistance. Through the VAVS program, MOPH volunteers provide assistance to hospitalized veterans at VA sites and State Veterans Homes.