U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following open letter to Texans on National Purple Heart Day:
August 7, 2018
Dear Fellow Texans:
Today on National Purple Heart Day, we celebrate those who have gone above and beyond in service to our country.
The origins of the Purple Heart, the oldest commendation in the U.S. Armed Forces, date back to 1782 when George Washington established the Badge of Military Merit. It was meant to honor service members who exhibited “not only instances of unusual gallantry in battle, but also extraordinary fidelity and essential service.” That badge became known as the Purple Heart nearly 150 years later after a redesign for the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth.
In its 236 years, millions of brave men and women have earned the Purple Heart, many while defending their fellow countrymen, and all with inspiring stories to tell.
Earlier this year, a powerful story of an unsung hero came across my desk. Family members of Sergeant (SGT) Julio Izquierdo, who lives in Austin, requested my help in securing for his 100th birthday the U.S. Army medals he had earned but never received. SGT Izquierdo had enlisted at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio in December of 1940 as our nation was on the brink of war. He deployed to the European Theater and served with the 2nd Infantry Division at Normandy and the Rhineland. Among the many decorations he earned during World War II were two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.
Just after his 100th birthday, my office was able to present SGT Izquierdo with his long overdue medals. Now he can proudly display those symbols of his valor, and his nine children and many grandchildren can see a tangible representation of his bravery and service.
These stories are why National Purple Heart Day is so important. We must celebrate the service of those who have sacrificed for our nation, not only to lift those individuals up and express our deep appreciation, but also to inspire patriotism in future generations.
God Bless the men and women who have served and continue to serve in our Armed Forces, and may God continue to Bless the great state of Texas.
U.S. Senator for Texas
Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.