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It is the most iconic of military awards. It is a medal no one really wants to receive, yet it is the one that is most recognized by veterans and non-veterans alike.
The Purple Heart is honored because it speaks so eloquently about the sacrifice, the very real cost that has been paid by the individual wounded warrior. There are other medals, of course; campaign medals, and the medals given for differing degrees of uncommon courage. The Purple Heart does not represent uncommon valor. Rather, it represents the uncommon courage it takes for the common citizen soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman, or Marine, to risk everything, to step into the line of fire to protect and defend the Constitution and the country it underpins.
The Purple heart is given in recognition of the fact that the one who wears it has been literally "touched by the enemy." It is not awarded by some calculus of severity. Every one who wears it has bled in service to the country. Today it is also awarded to those who have suffered the severe and very real, yet invisible, physical injuries known as TBI's, or traumatic brain injuries. To all who wear the Purple Heart, we give our deepest respect and our profoundest gratitude. Those who wear it, do so proudly, and with good reason. It represents one who has been struck down and risen again to carry on. That is the very definition of nobility.