Congressman Higgins Introduces the Purple Heart Flag Act
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) joined a meeting of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 187 to announce introduction of the Purple Heart Flag Act (H.R. 5237), legislation officially designating a Purple Heart flag and making public display of the flag at federal facilities protocol on specific days.
Similar to the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) flag, the bill would require display of the Purple Heart flag in our nation’s war memorials, national cemeteries, veterans’ hospitals, and the Departments of Defense, State, and Veterans Affairs on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, and Veterans Day.
“We could never do enough to repay those who are injured or killed in service to this nation, but regularly displaying a Purple Heart Flag would serve as a public declaration that says: we thank you, we honor you, and we will never forget the sacrifices made,” said Congressman Higgins.
The idea for the bill was brought to Congressman Higgins by Russell D. Ward, Vietnam War veteran and Senior Vice Commander of Military Order of the Purple Heart Buffalo Chapter 187, during a veteran event in September. Higgins introduced the bill on November 21, 2019 and is hoping for broad bipartisan support.
“A Purple Heart Flag would be a tremendous addition at government buildings nationwide, spreading honor throughout America for those who were killed or wounded in combat in all of America’s wars while defending our freedom and principals,” said U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran Russ Ward.
Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 187 Adjutant Jim Schaller added, "I would hope that this bill passes both the House and the Senate and is signed by the President so that someday soon Purple Heart Flags will be flying right under the United States Flag that has draped those that have given their all for this great Nation. People will hopefully stop and ponder the fact that this flag represents all those who shed their blood on foreign soil fighting against an enemy of the United States so that Americans can enjoy all the freedoms we have."
“Whether honoring a local Purple Heart hero in Western New York, or looking out for the best interests of veterans across the community and the nation, there is one constant: the dedicated members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 187 voluntarily report for duty again and again with the sole mission of supporting those who sacrificed and served,” said Higgins.
On August 7, 1782, General George Washington created the Badge of Military Merit, a piece of heart-shaped purple cloth embroidered with the word “merit” in white thread, presented to those engaging in extraordinary meritorious actions. Gen. Washington intended the award to be permanent, but it was only presented to a few soldiers who served during the Revolutionary War. The Purple Heart medal was later implemented in its current form in 1932 on President Washington’s 200th Birthday by Army General Douglas MacArthur and officially developed into today’s version by 1944. The Purple Heart is presented to service members of the U.S. armed forces who have been wounded or killed as a direct result of enemy action and is the oldest badge still awarded to the U.S. military today.
View the Purple Heart Flag Act here: higgins.house.gov/sites/higgins.house.gov/files/HIGGIN_018_xml.pdf