In front of an overflow Town Council audience on July 17, Flower Mound Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Bryant announced that Flower Mound has been designated as the first Purple Heart Town and is now listed on the official Purple Heart Trail.
The ‘Purple Heart Town’ proclamation means Flower Mound is a town that honors veterans who have earned the Military Order of the Purple Heart, granted to all of the brave American warriors who have been wounded or killed in battle.
“I was really pleased by the number of people who turned out, including the Vietnam [veterans] group and the [JROTC] cadets,” said Bryant, the only Town Council member to have served in the military, as a combat engineer in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1988-92.
Flower Mound High School’s AFJROTC cadets: Texas guard Steven Adkins, Cadet Staff Sargent; Texas flag, Derek Hill, Cadet Captain; American flag Nathan France, Cadet Captain; and, American guard Brendan Becker, Cadet Technical Sergeant served as the color guard.
Bryant shared the story about learning of the Purple Heart designation, while attending the JROTC Awards banquet at Marcus High School earlier this spring. Following investigation and completing the necessary requirements, Flower Mound was designated as the first town to receive the honor.
After Bryant read the Town Proclamation, U.S. Army Infantry combat veteran of Vietnam Jon Lunkwicz, who serves as District Commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW) 17 Fort Worth posts, read the designation of Flower Mound as a Purple Heart Town from the DFW Mid-Cities Chapter #1513,Military Order of the Purple Heart.
Bryant requested all Purple Heart recipients gather for a group photo, including a World War II survivor of the infamous 65-mile Bataan Death March on the Bataan Peninsula on the main Philippine island of Luzon.
Dr. Rob Wildman, PhD., spoke about recently losing a family member veteran, U.S. Marines Lance Cpl. John “Jack” Hickey on June 9, 2017, who lost his personal battle with PTSD. He was a double Purple Heart Award recipient and will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.
Representing 22KILL, Mike Brauer shared the statistic that not only recent veterans are committing suicide, but that half the suicide victims are Vietnam or older veterans. 22KILL is a non-profit platform to raise awareness, not just towards veteran suicide, but also to mental health issues that can lead to suicide: post-traumatic stress; traumatic brain injury; and, civilian-life transition stress.
In addition, Jeff Ramsey, representing the 22 KILL program, Adaptive Training Foundation (ATF), thanked the town for allowing veteran participants to use the new facilities of Twin Coves Park for a recent event.
“The whole key to the Purple Heart Town [designation] veteran is the awareness that ‘we’re here’ for veterans and their families,” said Bryant.
A permanent plaque will be displayed in the new Town Hall.
Bryant also shared a list of local resources veterans are encouraged to contact: Denton County Military Peer Network (Ginger Simonson); Town’s Veteran’s Page; and, Doug Brown, the Town’s Veteran’s Liaison, email is: [email protected].
About the Purple Heart Award
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after April 5, 1917, has been wounded or killed.
Although never abolished, the award of the badge was not proposed again officially until after World War I.
On January 7, 1931, General Douglas MacArthur, confidentially reopened previous work on a new design, involving the Washington Commission of Fine Arts. Elizabeth Will, an Army heraldic specialist in the Office of the Quartermaster General, was named to redesign the newly revived medal.
The new design, which exhibits a bust and profile of George Washington, was issued on the bicentennial of Washington’s birth, Feb. 22, 1932. The first Purple Heart was awarded to MacArthur.
The War Department authorized an award to soldiers, upon their request, who had been awarded the Meritorious Service Citation Certificate, Army Wound Ribbon, or were authorized to wear Wound Chevrons subsequent to April 5, 1917, the day before the United States entered World War I.
After March 28, 1973, it may be awarded as a result of an international terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United States, recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of the Army, or jointly by the Secretaries of the separate armed services concerned if persons from more than one service are wounded in the attack. After March 28, 1973, it may be awarded as a result of military operations, while serving outside the territory of the United States as part of a peacekeeping force.