National News

Atlanta City Hall to be Illuminated in Honor of Purple Heart Day

Posted August 7

— The Atlanta City Hall tower at 68 Mitchell Street, S.W., will be illuminated purple to honor the military men and women who have received the distinguished Purple Heart.

Each year on what is known as Purple Heart Day, Americans pause to remember and honor the brave men and women who were either wounded on the battlefield or paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. The Purple Heart is awarded to any member of the U.S. Armed Forces that has been wounded or died because of a wound in battle. This now includes those persons who died in captivity while a prisoner of war (POW). The illumination comes at the request of city officials and members of the Atlanta Commission on Veterans Affairs.

"I am very grateful for the service of these brave men and women, and believe it is important to recognize their past service as well as to repay the favor by serving our veterans and soldiers in an honorable way," said Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell.

In 2014, Mitchell established the Atlanta Commission on Veterans Affairs to provide policy and legislative guidance to the city council regarding the many crucial issues affecting veterans such as elderly services, disabled veteran services, homelessness, affordable housing, healthcare, job training, business development, spousal assistance and other important issues.

This year, many states, counties and cities across the nation who have proclaimed themselves as Purple Heart communities will pause in recognition of the service and sacrifice of their local sons and daughters. Purple Heart Day should serve as a reminder to all Americans that there is a price for the freedoms we enjoy and we should honor those who sacrificed themselves in defense of our freedom. This year, many major league baseball teams will pay special homage to their local Purple Heart recipients during special pre-game and 7th inning ceremonies.

Atlanta became a Purple Heart City on January 5, 2015 with the city council recognizing veterans wounded or killed in combat through proclamation. The City of Atlanta joined cities across the nation in proclaiming itself as a Purple Heart City. The recognition affirmed that Atlanta will forever honor the members of our armed forces and acknowledged the sacrifices of those wounded or killed in the line of duty.

"Being the son of a veteran, I am personally very moved and appreciative of the City of Atlanta for trying to make sure we do everything we can to recognize the courage and sacrifice of those wounded in efforts to protect our freedom," said City Councilmember Ivory Lee Young, Jr. whose father served in the U.S. Military. Young hosted a reception at city hall in honor of Atlanta area Purple Heart recipients, the day Atlanta declared itself a Purple Heart City.

The Purple Heart is the oldest military award still given to U.S. military members. It is specifically a combat decoration and it is the nation's oldest military medal. It was first created by General George Washington in 1782, then known as the Badge of Military Merit. It is given to those who are wounded or killed in action. Today more than 1.9 million Purple Heart medals have been awarded.

"On Monday and as we approach Veterans Day on November 11, let us all be mindful of our military veterans who have served our country proudly, and those who continue to serve our nation on foreign soil," said Atlanta Commission on Veterans Affairs Chairman Chris Balch. "May their sacrifice never be forgotten."

Members of the veterans community and the Atlanta Commission on Veterans Affairs will gather on the steps of Atlanta City Hall (68 Mitchell Street entrance) at 9 p.m. tonight, Monday.

Copyright 2017 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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