LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed Aug. 7 as Purple Heart Day, in an effort to remember and honor service members that were wounded or killed in action.

“On Purple Heart Day, we honor those who put their lives on the line for our nation and the timeless cause of freedom. We owe our wounded service members, veterans and fallen heroes our gratitude. Thank you for standing up for us all and sacrificing so much to keep us safe. We will honor your service through our words and our actions.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

According to a statement from Whitmer’s office, the Purple Heart was introduced in 1782 by General George Washington as the Badge of Military Merit.

The Badge of Military Merit was awarded to soldiers in the Continental Army who fought during the American Revolution.

On the 200 year mark of Washington’s birth in 1932, the award became known as the Purple Heart.

The first service member to receive the modern-day Purple Heart was Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur for his service in the Pacific theater during World War II.  

“We acknowledge the bravery and valor displayed by these courageous soldiers who took up arms to fight for our nation,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Those who suffered an injury or lost their lives in the line of duty deserve our admiration and gratitude as do the families of our fallen heroes.”