Message Board Home Bookstore VSC Sponsors

Download this report as an MP3 sound file.

The stamp commemorating the Purple Heart -- the world's oldest military
decoration -- will be issued May 30th, four days after the observed Memorial
Day, with a ceremony at Mount Vernon, George Washington's home. It was
Washington who first awarded the medal in 17-82, to three sergeants --
unusual because, at the time, decorations in European armies were only
available to officers, not enlisted men.

The Badge of Military Merit, as it was called then, a heart made from purple
cloth, wasn't continued after the Revolutionary War. It was re-established
150 years later, in 19-32. Its scope kept expanding, until a law in 19-98
limited it again to just members of the military.

The design features a photograph of one of two medals awarded to Marine
Battalion Commander James Loftus Fowler for service in the Vietnam War. 

The stamp is the result of what a postal official calls "intense pressure,"
much of it from New York State politicians, particularly Senators Hillary
Clinton and Charles Schumer, and the state representative whose district
includes West Point.

I'm Lloyd de Vries
Return to Virtual Stamp Club Home Page