Holiday Island to be designated as a Purple Heart Community

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- On Feb. 24, Holiday Island will be designated as a Purple Heart Community.

The Purple Heart was first instituted by George Washington in 1792 as the "Badge of Military Merit" awarded to three soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War.

It was not awarded again until after World War I, when it became the Purple Heart, redesigned and commissioned on Washington's birthday in 1932, when the Military Order of the Purple Heart was established. The first Purple Heart was awarded to Gen. George MacArthur, who was instrumental in reviving the medal.

Jim Bowers of Holiday Island is commander of the Rogers chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. He will be presenting a plaque to the Holiday Island Board of Commissioners after the board reads a proclamation from the Purple Heart Council designating Holiday Island as a Purple Heart Community during its regular meeting Feb. 24.

"It will show that Holiday Island supports Purple Heart recipients," Bowers said. "I would like to see any Purple Heart recipient attend. It is a way to show our thanks for their service."

Bowers said he received a Purple Heart after being wounded in action in Vietnam in December 1966.

"We were on a jungle patrol, and we were ambushed and our vehicle was hit with a grenade that threw shrapnel everywhere," he said. "We lost two men, and the other two of us were injured."

Bowers said he knows of four Purple Heart recipients in Holiday Island, and also knows there are some in Eureka Springs and Berryville.

"This is not just for Holiday Island recipients, but any recipient who would like to attend," he said.

The plaque will be mounted at the district office, he said.

The ceremony will take place at the district office at 110 Woodsdale Drive in Holiday Island on Monday, Feb. 24, at 9 a.m. Any Purple Heart recipient is invited to attend, as well as family, friends or anyone else interested. They do not have to be members of the order to attend.

"People appreciate being recognized for their service," Bowers said of the ceremony.

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