The Purple Heart Medal was instituted in 1932. It is America’s oldest military decoration, dating back to 1782 when General George Washington created the original “Badge of Military Merit.” It was retired shortly after, but later reinstated in both 1927 and 1931, with the work of General Pelot Summerall and General Douglas MacArthur. On February 22, 1932 (the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birthday), the Badge of Merit was renamed the Purple Heart in honor of the fabric used to create the original award. The first Purple Heart was given to General MacArthur.
For someone in the military, being deployed is the culmination of sometimes years of training. As a young soldier getting deployed, Caliber team member Aaron Cabrera looked forward to being put to the test and proving to himself that he could endure the harsh nature of war. All in all, he would change very little about the time spent in combat as it shaped his world view and blessed him with some relationships that he’ll probably never experience again. Cabrera says “Even getting injured in the way that I did, it gave me a deeper understanding of life that very few have. I am thankful for that.”
Typically Purple Heart Medals are awarded at ceremonies if the service-member is available, but Aaron’s was given to him at his hospital bedside by General David Petraeus himself, who happened to be in the area. “That made it even more special,” Cabrera says.
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