Purple Heart Day observed in Golden Valley
GOLDEN VALLEY - Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2555 in Golden Valley observed Purple Heart Day on Friday, with half a dozen veterans belonging to the Order of the Purple Heart in attendance.
Larry Castaneda, the junior vice president of the chapter in Golden Valley, hosted the ceremony and discussed the history of the Purple Heart with residents and veterans present.
The Purple Heart is the oldest military award given to members of the U.S. military, with its origins dating back to George Washington during his time as the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
The award was established on Aug.7, 1782, and consisted of a purple cloth in the shape of a heart with silver braids along the edges. It was awarded as a Badge of Military Merit, and after the Revolutionary War it wasn't awarded again until 1932.
President Herbert Hoover brought back the award on Feb. 22, 1932.
The award is bestowed when a soldier is either wounded or killed by any enemy or opposing armed force to the United States. Since 1932, more than 1.9 million Purple Hearts have been awarded.
One of the veterans present on Friday was Sgt. Al Cyrus Entsey, a Marine who served in the Pacific Theater in World War II.
Entsey was part of the assault wave on Iwo Jima. Of the 250 Marines from his group who went into Iwo Jima, only six walked off the island.
His division was tasked with maintaining the cemetery toward the end of the assault.
Entsey shared with the audience on Friday the words etched above the gate leading into the cemetery: "We gave all of our todays for all of your tomorrows."
"Remember all of them. Remind people that our country is built on sacrifice," said Entsey.