NEW WINDSOR – About 1.8 million Americans have been awarded a Purple Heart for sustaining wounds in combat. That’s an estimate according to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, in New Windsor, which counts back to 1932 and the modern version of the award, first given, in different form, by George Washington, not far from the current hall.
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18) pushed through the House legislation to create a new honor. He assembled supporters in front of the hall.
“Create a coin honoring all those who’ve been awarded the Purple Heart throughout American history. And it will also generate millions of dollars in proceeds supporting the mission of this terrific organization.”
Maloney expects the Senate to quickly concur since Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D, NY) is in strong support.
This is an extension of a clear philosophy, according to Hall of Honor Chairman Richard Lay.
“Respect the veterans who are willing to give their lives for their country, both men and women who were willing to step up and do that,” Lay said. “Some gave all; all gave some. We’re now into the next phase and we’re moving forward.”
New York State had appropriated $10 million for another upgrade of the hall.
Brian Maher, executive director of the Purple Heart Hall, Inc. said the hope is the coin will pour more money into the hall and its programs.
“Next couple of years we’ll participate in the design process,” Maher said. “We’ll have the creation of this permanent beautiful tribute to Purple Heart awardees and the proceeds from that, after covering costs, will help our own community and this wonderful institution and support its mission.”
Attending the midday Tuesday announcement was Pat Larkin, whose late husband, State Senator William Larkin, a decorated veteran, pushed for creation of the Hall of Honor in New Windsor.