Pay tribute to the oldest military decoration in the U.S. at the home of its founder, George Washington.

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Add to Calendar 08/11/2018 10:30:00 12/31/1969 America/Rio_Branco Mount Vernon Commemorates Purple Heart Day

Pay tribute to the oldest military decoration in the U.S. at the home of its founder, George Washington.

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Included with General Admission

Purple Heart recipients receive free admission 365 days a year.

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Join Mount Vernon and members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart for the estate's official National Purple Heart Day Ceremony on the East Lawn overlooking the Potomac River at 10:30AM (weather permitting). This event will include a musical prelude beginning at 10:10am and remarks by General Washington.

Visit the Purple Heart Memorial near the entrance of the estate, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Keynote Speaker: Patrick K. O'Donnell

Patrick O Donnell

Critically acclaimed American author Patrick K. O'Donnell will give the keynote address.

Mr. O'Donnell has written ten books on military history. He received the Combat Circle Award for Outstanding Military History for his best-selling book, Beyond Valour. In 2016, Mr. O’Donnell spoke at Mount Vernon for a Ford Evening Book Talk to discuss his book Washington's Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment Who Changed the Course of the Revolution. O'Donnell's latest book, The Unknowns: The Untold Story of America’s Unknown Soldier and WWI’s Most Decorated Heroes Who Brought Him Home, was published in 2018.

As an unpaid, volunteer combat historian he spent three months in Iraq in uniform, conducting oral histories of U.S. troops in battle. On a later tour to Iraq he served as a war correspondent for Men’s Journal and Fox News. His writing has also appeared in Military History Quarterly (MHQ), WWII Magazine, and a number of well-known blogs. As an expert on World War II espionage, special operations, and counter insurgency, O'Donnell has provided historical consulting for DreamWorks’ award-winning miniseries Band of Brothers and for scores of documentaries produced by the BBC, The History Channel, and Fox News.


Purple Heart award recipients share their remembrances and reflect upon General George Washington's act that created the predecessor to this most respected of military awards.

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Military Badges

Purple Heart Memorial

On August 7, 1782, George Washington created three new military badges that would honor the service of ordinary, common soldiers. In these General Orders, Washington outlined the creation of the Badge of Military Merit, the precursor to the Purple Heart.

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General George Washington

Learn more about General Washington's leadership during the American Revolution

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