Purple heart recipients can be researched through an array of online databases, such as thepurpleheart.com. These databases are updated frequently and can contain more than 92 million listings of military service personnel. Some databases also include family member information.
The Purple Heart is awarded to any military service personnel that has been injured, killed or died from wounds while in service to his or her country in the U.S. Armed Services anytime after April 5, 1917.
The Purple Heart's origins date back to the end of the American Revolution. General George Washington was forbidden from granting promotions in rank based upon merit. However, Washington wanted a way to honor his soldiers, and on August 7, 1782, he established the Badge of Military Merit. The award was meant to be permanent, but it fell into obscurity until the 20th century.
In 1918, General John J. "Blackjack" Pershing proposed the need for a badge of military merit, and it wasn't until 1932 that the Purple Heart was created. The first Purple Hearts were awarded on May 28, 1932, to 138 World War I veterans at Temple Hill, in New Windsor, New York, which was the final encampment of the Continental Army during the winter of 1782 to 1783.