ABC7 Salutes: Mount Vernon hosts veterans at Purple Heart Day celebration

General George Washington welcomes Purple Heart recipients to Mount Vernon. (ABC7)

August 7 is National Purple Heart Day. This year marks the 235th anniversary of the Badge of Military Merit - forerunner to the Purple Heart - created by President George Washington to recognize "unusual gallantry" in the military.

At Washington’s Mount Vernon estate Monday, dozens of Purple Heart recipients were applauded for their acts of bravery.

Medal of Honor recipient and fellow Purple Heart recipient Florent Groberg said, “When I get to see them, shake their hands, have a conversation with them, it's powerful.”

He added, “I was never truly scared of putting my life on the line because I understood millions had done so before to get me to where I am.”

At the Mount Vernon event, every recent conflict was represented. But there was just one World War II vet: 93-year old Jerry Wolf from Springfield, Virginia.

Wolf said it is becoming more difficult to come to this event each year, with fewer and fewer of his comrades in attendance.

“The World War II veterans - there are still quite a few, but not as many who can remember what they went through,” Wolf said.

In local chapters across the country, Purple Heart recipients attend social events. They also hold fundraisers for wounded warriors and their families in recovery at Walter Reed.

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