Today is Purple Heart Day. During the American Revolutionary War, the Badge for Military Merit decorated six known soldiers. On this day, we commemorate the creation of the oldest American military decoration for military merit, the Purple Heart, and honor the men and women who are of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

Created by General George Washington in 1782 to be presented to soldiers for “any singularly meritorious action”, the decoration was a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk bound with a thin edge of silver and the word “merit” embroidered in silver across the face.

It is unknown who designed the Badge of Merit. It is also unknown how many soldiers may have received the honor, symbolizing the courage and devotion of an American Patriot.

According to the book, “The Badge of Military Merit” by Professor Ray Raymond, the “Book of Merit”, where the names of possible recipients and their deeds were recorded, has long been missing.

Until Washington’s 200th birthday, the Purple Heart remained a Revolutionary War footnote. Through the efforts of General Douglas MacArthur, the U.S. War Department created the Order of the Purple Heart. Today the medal bears a bust of George Washington and his coat of arms. Purple Heart Day recognizes not only the merit but, more importantly, the men and women killed and wounded in combat who have earned the badge of honor. To all those who have been and are active in the military, thank you for your service.

Thank you to all who acknowledged and sent Don and me congratulations on our 50th anniversary. I was pleasantly surprised, and it warmed my heart by the amount of people who wished us well and said they read Herald Happenings. We had a lovely day. Still can’t believe it has been 50 years. We had a celebration dinner with our family at the Ione Hotel Restaurant. And, as always, stories were shared (and some exaggerated a bit), and memories were made. Good thing the staff seated us in our own banquet room; it got a little loud at times.

Herald Day was kind of quiet this year. I can’t help but think the assault at the Gilroy festival may have shied some families away. But it was still great to catch up with those friends I get to see once or twice a year. The parade, although short, featured some wonderful old trucks and equipment, as well as floats with very generous candy throwers. The heat did get a bit sticky as the day wore on. I imagine the liquid refreshment booths did well. All in all, it was a good day to enjoy the company of the people of Herald.

School starts next week. On Monday, be sure to keep a sharp eye out for our teenagers walking to the high schools. Most will have their earbuds in their ears and their eyes on their cell phones. And don’t think they are skipping school on Monday and Tuesday afternoons. Galt and Liberty Ranch high schools will be on minimum day schedules, and school will be out at 12:15 p.m.

The elementary schools start on Thursday. So, students enjoy the last fleeting days of summer vacation; the 180 school days until next summer vacation will soon begin.

And along that same vein – there are 140 shopping days until Christmas. And yes, I have already seen decorations to purchase in stores, and I have done a little Christmas shopping myself.

And a special shout – Happy Birthday Sabri! Have a wonderful day today. Oh, to be 17 and a senior in high school – make some great memories this year.

Dates to remember:

Aug. 10 & 11 – Galt Balloon Festival at McFarland Living History Ranch; for tickets, search for it on or call the Galt Chamber at 209-745-2529.

Aug. 23 – First football game at the new Galt High Warrior Stadium

Sept. 2 – Labor Day

Sept. 4 – Herald Community Club meeting at Hendrickson Training Center, 7 p.m.

Sept. 8 – Grandparents’ Day

Sept. 11 – Patriot’s Day remembrance of 9-11

Sept. 20 – Autumnal Equinox