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Some Remarkable Purple Heart Medal Stories on this #PurpleHeartDay

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The Purple Heart, America’s Oldest Medal, is awarded to members of any of the United States Armed Forces who are wounded by an instrument of war, are killed in action or die of wounds received in action, according to the U.S. Army.

There’s estimated to be roughly 1.8 million recipients, 1.07 million of those were awarded during WWII.

There are some amazing stories behind Purple Heart Medal recipient’s lives.

Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham

In April of 2004, Dunham’s convoy came under attack.  During this attack, Dunham engaged in hand to hand combat with a driver from a vehicle he had stopped. The driver of the car dropped a grenade and fled.

Dunham immediately threw himself and his helmet over the grenade, in an effort to protect his men. Although Dunham did not die on the spot, he passed a few days later due to injuries from the grenade.

It’s no wonder why Dunham has received so many awards;

  • Medal of Honor
  • Purple Heart
  • Combat Action Ribbon
  • Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
  • Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal
  • Iraq Campaign Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
  • Sharpshooter Rifle Marksmanship Badge
  • Expert Pistol Marksmanship Badge

Douglas Munro – Petty Officer First Class – United States Coast Guard

Munro’s heroic story begins with him and his team trying to free a group of Marines who were being held by the Japanese, says the Purple Heart Hall of Honor.

He commanded five boats of men to safety, all while being shot at by machine guns. He used his own boat as a shield for those who were being rescued.

Later, Munro died during this mission but his impressive acts were remembered when he was awarded both the Purple Heart and Medal of Honor.

Beatrice Mary MacDonald – Army – Army Nurse Corps

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During World War I Ms. MacDonald was assigned to a hospital that was four miles behind enemy lines in Belgium.

Eventually, MacDonald’s hospital was bombed by Germans. She was injured by shell fragmentation.

Later, MacDonald lost her right eye. She inspiringly carried on and continued to serve throughout the rest of the war.

As a result, she went on to win the Purple Heart.

What an honor the Purple Heart is, honor those you know with Purple Hearts below!

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About the author

Mackenzie Xanthos

Mackenzie, our U.S. Marketing Associate, studied Journalism at Hofstra University. She's passionate about education, the French language, and mental health.

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