It was a milestone in the military community on Wednesday. The modern-day Purple Heart award celebrated its 80th anniversary. Our Elaina Athans spoke with one veteran honored with the award.
VAILS GATE, N.Y. -- A Maybrook resident receives a round of applause from a room of admirers at a gathering to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the modern-day Purple Heart award. Jack Barletta received his after being injured during World War II.
“[I'm] very fortunate to come out of it, being overseas in combat for so long and come back after I stepped on the mine, but I’m still here walking,” said Purple Heart recipient Jack Barletta.
The Purple Heart is one the most decorated military honors. It's given to those wounded or killed by enemy action.
"This is an important part of our history. This is something as a way to keep our memories alive and to commemorate those who have made sacrifices that many of us have not had to make," said Purple Heart Hall of Honor Program Director Peter Bedrossian.
Since 1932, the Purple Heart has been bestowed on at least 1.7 million people. But there’s really no way to know how many people have received this honor. Formal records were not kept for years. The Purple Heart Hall of Honor has taken on that job and hosts numerous events to make sure everyone is remembered.
"It's very important that people come out and support this kinds of events and show solidarity," said Korean War Veteran Eugene Murphy.
For Barletta, though, the only thing he want others to show is appreciation for our veterans
and those currently serving our country, whose boots are on the grounds -- guarding our freedoms in dangerous places. Barletta says a simple "thank you" means everything.
"That’s very touching when people come over and say that. That’s very touching," said Barletta.