“Wounded Warrior” painting by: US Marine Michael Fay
On this date in 1782, in Newburgh, New York, General George Washington created the “Badge for Military Merit,” a decoration consisting of a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk, edged in silver, with the word Merit etched. It was to be presented for any one meritorious action and it permitted the wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge. The honoree’s name and regiment were to be inscribed in “The Book of Merit.”
Only three soldiers are known to have been awarded this medal during the Revolutionary War: Elijah Churchill, William Brown and Daniel Bissell Jr. The Book of Merit was lost and the medal was virtually forgotten. In 1927, General Charles Summerall sent an unsuccessful draft bill to Congress to revive the Badge.
General Douglas MacArthur took up the cause…
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