With the 4th of July behind us, each day becomes a little shorter, each night a little cooler and each passing week is a reminder that summer is almost gone. We don’t always equate August with Patriotisim as we’re more focused on back to school shopping or finishing that great summer reading list that we never started, but August holds two very important dates in our nation’s history.
On August 4th, the U.S. Coast Guard will celebrate its’ 228th birthday. Here in Maine, the U.S. Coast Guard has been safeguarding our maritime interests and protecting our mariniers since 1790. The smallest of the five military branches, since its inception the USCG has aided in major military operations including World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Coast Guard is truly unique in its mission. It is a critical component that is not only dedicated to the safety of life here at home, but also to the success of our national security strategy. Next time you see that cutter out on Casco Bay remember to give’em a wave and thank them for their service.
On August 7th, the nation will commemorate the creation of the Purple Heart Medal. Created by General Washington in 1782, it was initially called the Badge of Military Merit. Only a handful of these were awarded, and following the American Revolution. In 1932, to honor the bicentennial of General Washington’s birth, the Purple Heart was created and bestowed upon soldiers who had been wounded during the first World War.
My Great-Grandfather, Ralph, was one of the original recipients of the Purple Heart after he was wounded twice during his service in the First World War. His name is engraved on the back of the award and it sits prominently on my desk at home. One story from our family lore is when one of Ralph’s children asked him about the large scar on his shoulder, he responded, “I zigged when I should have zagged.” This was typical of the dry wit and humility that many of our Veterans embrace.
While the summer is winding down, I hope that you find time to pause in recognition of the service and sacrifice of our Veterans. Please go to www.vetscount.org/maine to learn how you can help us Easterseals provide critical support to Veterans in our community.
Senior Director of Development