Photo: Honoring those awarded the Purple Heart.
On a return to summer on Saturday morning, Aug. 7, a dedicated number of residents, public safety personnel and town officials came to the Belmont Veterans Memorial off Concord Avenue to honor all who earned the nation’s oldest military award.
At the town’s annual Purple Heart Day Ceremony, “we want to show our honor, respect and appreciation to each of our Purple Heart recipients,” said Bob Upton, Belmont’s Veterans Services Officers who hosts the year event.
The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces who are wounded in a war zone and given posthumously to the next of kin of those killed in action or died of their wounds while in action. The familiar heart shaped medal with the bust of Washington was designed in 1932 replacing the cloth Badge of Military Merit that was first awarded in 1782.
“It’s interesting that the metal is purple,” said Adam Dash, chair of the Select Board, in his opening remarks. “The color is not red or blue, right or left. It’s a blend of both colors and beliefs because self sacrifice knows no politics.”
“Military uniforms do not designate race, creed or political persuasion. Soldiers fight for United States of America, not for a faction. They put aside their personal political thoughts to do their duty and risk their health, all for the love of country,” said Dash.
Guest speaker Belmont resident Paul Mutch, a retired Sgt. Major in the USMC reserves, said it was important when the statistics of those killed and wounded in conflicts are reported that we do not allow ourselves to focus only on the numbers.
“I asked you pause each time and take a moment to consciously realize that there is a name and face associated with each number. It is a service member, a human who has life has been forever been impacted by a specific violent event in the service of our country. And with our service member, we might find a husband, a wife, a child, a parent, a brother, a sister, relatives and friends that most likely number in the hundreds who are also touched by the strategy Think about the magnitude of impact,” said Mutch.
“Those who wear the Purple Heart paid a significant price for us all. And those who are awarded the Purple Heart posthumously, may be able to pay the ultimate price.”