August 7 – Purple Heart Recognition Day

August 7 serves as Purple Heart Recognition Day to all who have earned the Purple Heart in service to our country. Before I begin, to all of our nations veterans, I extend my sincerest gratitude for the safety and freedom you bring our country and citizens and thank you for your service, dedication, sacrifice and courage. For more information about our nation’s oldest military medal, please click here .

When asked to blog on this day of recognition, I immediately thought of my grandfather’s purple heart, which I’ve held very close to heart since being gifted with it from my mother years ago. It has had a special place in my display cabinet for many years. I did not know my grandfather, so this medal filled that family void in my life over the years. My second immediate thought was the reality that I did not know how he earned his purple heart.

The journey began that very moment…

I wasn’t comfortable referencing my grandfather’s purple heart without the knowledge of its unique history. See, each and every purple heart possess a unique history and personal memory – think of how many unique chapters there are in our world among our service members. My grandfather’s medal was earned in WWI in France. His son wrote last week in email “He was gassed and received a bullet wound to his hand plus many slivers of shrapnel in his back and shoulders. I remember these slivers working their way to the surface of his skin so they could be picked off with fingers. He was a corporal in the 56th Regiment of Infantry. He was nominated for the French Croix de Guerre for wiping out a machine gun nest.” 

The next sentence was one I did not anticipate, “I have been searching for my daddy’s purple heart for years.” As the daughter of his half-sister that is almost 25 years younger than him, we have not stayed in close contact throughout the years and many moves; he never would have thought to check with me. I was suddenly overcome with the immediate sense that I must return the medal to its rightful home. My “Uncle Joe,” a retired Colonel,  served our country in many capacities and has a case of medals he has been working on for his and our families legacy.

In the same sentence above, my Uncle wrote, “Keep in touch as my days are numbered.” In our following email exchanges, I learned of his recent heart attack and inoperable blockage which has significantly altered his life and numbered his days. I knew that moment, that shipping the purple heart was not the option, the right thing to do was to get in my car and drive to see him. And that is exactly what was done.

The 60 hours between Friday afternoon and Sunday evening in which I drove 1,200 miles to honor my Uncle’s wish to have his father’s medal in his legacy collection, I learned about my family history, service, and much more that only our aging family members would have to offer with such depth and wisdom. I learned about my Italian family history, from the city of San Marco Argentano, Italy; travels to America by my grandfather and his father; and learned about Uncle Joe’s lovely wife of 25 years and her family history from Arcadia, FL. In her family, one member is also a recipient of a purple heart, and the family has left an amazing trail of doing the right thing and always giving back. My aunt and uncle have served our country, community, and individual immigrant families for decades and leave behind too much to be written in any one sitting.

In closing, it is my great honor to blog as a family member to recipients of a purple heart and in recognition of our service members. My wish is that you are all remembered each and every day, recognized, and always know your commitment and dedication is valued among your community. Covenant Hospice is a dedicated partner to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organizations “We Honor Veterans” program in partnership with the Veterans Administration, striving to serve our veterans with dignity, recognition, respect and quality hospice care each and every day. To learn more about our Level 3 partnership, please visit our website.

To my uncle – Thank you for always being there as a mentor, guide, and voice of encouragement; your kindness and compassion will never be forgotten. I am honored to have the opportunity to return this war medal to its rightful home, and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers each moment with sincere gratitude for your service to our country, community, family, and this niece who will always remember your kindness. To my Aunt Joan and Uncle Joe, you’ve made a difference in my life through all the years, today and my future. Your legacy lives in me and everything I stand for. All my love, Tristessa


About tristessao

Tristessa Osborne serves Covenant Hospice as the Vice-President of Marketing. She earned her Masters in Management in 2004 from Troy State University, and Bachelor's of Interdisciplinary Studies of Social Science in 2001 from University of West Florida. Tristessa moved to Pensacola in 1999, from Dallas / Fort Worth and has worked for Covenant since 2007. Prior to Covenant Hospice, Tristessa held positions in various capacities such as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor for teens, Case Manager for the severely mentally ill, and business management and ownership. She is past-chair of the National Hospice Workgroup, Sales and Marketing forum after serving three years as chair.

3 Responses to “August 7 – Purple Heart Recognition Day”

  1. What a WONDERFUL story! My Grandfather also was awarded a Purple Heart. Thanks for sharing your special journey – it put a smile on this face. 🙂
    -A ❤

  2. How wonderful to fill the holes & gaps in your history. But most importantly to find out your gut feelings of doing the right thing is a long inherited trait. Getting to know our history, retracing our family footsteps…it’s what keeps us connected to our past, the lessons learned and the people that paved the way for us. Thank you for your story, my wish is that all could learn to love and respect our past and the ones that were there before us. Keep marching onward & upward, in the end others will notice and appreciate it just like you have done.

  3. I am sure this post has touched all the internet viewers,
    its really really nice post on building up new blog.

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