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Kearns calls on Purple Heart recipients to be honored

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Mon, Jun 10th 2024 01:55 pm

County clerk is asking Purple Heart veterans to come forward and be honored at 6th annual Purple Heart Day ceremony

Erie County Clerk Michael P. Kearns will again honor veterans who have been bestowed the Purple Heart by adding their name to the William J. Donovan Purple Heart Recipients Book of Merit. Kearns is encouraging veterans who were awarded the Purple Heart or their surviving family members to submit their request to his office by Aug. 1 in order to be added to the 2024 edition and be part of this year’s ceremony.

Purple Heart veterans or their families must complete a short application that can be obtained online at erie.gov/clerk/PurpleHeartForm, or by email at [email protected], as well as provide proof the award was issued. Those with additional questions can call the Erie County clerk’s office at 716-858-6787.

“I think it is important to honor the brave men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country. They deserve to be recognized, and I am pleased we can maintain a record of our local military heroes at the Erie County Clerk’s Office,” Kearns said.

He established the William J. Donovan Purple Heart Recipients Book of Merit in 2018 and has committed to add to the book each year with new recipients. The book is now in its sixth year. It is named after Buffalo native and leading advocate for the Central Intelligence Agency William J. Donovan. Donovan received three Purple Hearts for his service in the military.

The complete volume of the William J. Donovan Purple Heart Book of Merit is on display year-round at the Erie County Clerk’s Office in Old County Hall (92 Franklin St., Buffalo). It presently holds 540 names of those honored with the Purple Heart.

The oldest military decoration awarded to members of the U.S. military who were wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917, the accolade was originally called the Badge of Military Merit. The Purple Heart was created by George Washington on Aug. 7, 1782. In addition to receiving a purple heart-shaped award, the honoree’s name and regiment were inscribed in a “Book of Merit,” which was lost after the Revolutionary War. The award was largely forgotten until over 100 years later.

Kearns will recognize the William J. Donovan Purple Heart Recipients and honor all Purple Heart veterans during a ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 7, which also serves as National Purple Heart Day. Complete ceremony details will be made available as the event date approaches.

In addition, Old County Hall will be lit in purple Aug. 5-11 in honor of Purple Heart Appreciation Day and in solemn recognition of all service members injured or killed in action.

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