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thedrifter
10-31-06, 11:13 AM
October 30, 2006
Purple Heart museum awaits debut on Nov. 10

By Gordon Lubold
Staff writer

On Nov. 10, the nation’s roughly 1.7 million Purple Heart recipients will get a museum to call their own.

The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, to open in Vails Gate, N.Y., will be the first national museum dedicated to those who have received the Purple Heart.

Veterans Affairs Secretary R. James Nicholson will present Purple Hearts — considered the oldest U.S. combat award — to three soldiers and a Marine at an event Wednesday in Washington to celebrate the opening of the museum nine days later.

The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor will be the first facility to honor all recipients who have been wounded or killed in action. The museum will remain “the sole repository dedicated to the preservation of the stories of wounded patriots’ sacrifice,” according to the Military Order of the Purple Heart, a nonprofit organization representing 39,000 Purple Heart recipients based in Springfield, Va.

The museum will have a series of exhibits, videotaped interviews with veterans, historical photos, documentary film footage, period objects and the Roll of Honor, an interactive computer program detailing the stories of each recipient. The 7,500-square-foot facility will house a reception area, gallery, exhibit hall, education center and presentation room, according to information provided by the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

The $6.2 million museum will be built on the grounds of the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic site in Vails Gate, the site of the final encampment of Gen. George Washington’s Continental Army.

In 1782, Washington created the purple-cloth Badge of Merit to honor the service of his troops. That badge was the precursor of the Purple Heart, presented to service members wounded in combat or to the next of kin of troops killed in combat.

Ellie