Editorial: Recognizing all gave some – some gave all

Michael Gold, Editor in Chief
St Augustine, FL

I was raised in a family by two military officers; one commissioned, the other non-commissioned.  I learned about the importance of the men and women who defend our American freedoms from a man and woman who went overseas and did.

From an early age I knew what it meant to be a Combat Wounded Veteran because my father had received its military recognition, the Purple Heart.  For many veterans, its significance is found in words attributed to Korean War veteran and purple heart recipient Howard William Osterkamp when he said of his experience, “All gave some – some gave all”.

Currently, I found that only 17 out of Florida’s 67 counties have received the “Purple Heart County” designation.  A greater number of municipalities have applied for and received the “Purple Heart City” designation.  Despite the strong military role played by our community, both historically and today, the closest Purple Heart Cities to us are Jacksonville, Gainesville and Deland.

The Combat Wounded Veteran Recognition program pays recognition to Purple Heart recipients for being wounded in combat.  A Purple Heart County or City is a county or city that recognizes those in their community who gave their lives or were wounded in combat defending our American freedom. There are no formal requirements and no cost to receive such designation.

Why haven’t we done this already?  At a minimum, our two city governments, the City of St Augustine and the City of St Augustine Beach, should apply in order that our qualified veterans receive the recognition they have earned.  I would like to see St Johns County apply, as we would currently have the distinction of being the only county in northeast Florida providing veterans this well-deserved honor.

  • The process for our cities and county are simple.  The typical Purple Heart County application process involves the city or county commissioners issuing a “proclamation” explaining their intent, which is then presented to the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.  The Order even provides samples of the proclamation used by other communities.
  • Once the proclamation is finalized, the county will host a ceremony recognizing their Purple Heart recipients. The military order traditionally provides the county with a plaque commemorating the occasion, a Purple Heart flag, and pins for everyone attending the ceremony.

  • Anyone can submit a nomination, but a copy of a DD 214 form is needed to verify the award of a Purple Heart.
  • Applications for nomination are provided by the county’s veterans service office.
  • Once the Purple Heart award is verified, the submission is given to the county’s Veterans Council for voting.
  • The top three candidates each month are forwarded to the Executive Board of the Veterans Council to select the one nomination that will be forwarded to the Board of County or City Commissioners.
  • Finally, the veteran will be notified of the date, time, and place where they will be honored.

For more information about the Combat Wounded Veterans recognition program, visit the Military Order of the Purple Heart website.