Caption: Bill Jones
Bill Jones 

Owners of a Purple Heart

From: Hillary Frank
Length: 05:25

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Three Purple Heart recipients talk about how they earned their medals. Read the full description.

Jones_cropped_small In 1932, General MacArthur changed the fabric Purple Heart badge to a medal. And at the last minute, he also changed the meaning: it went from a merit award to recognition of any soldier who had been injured in battle. But some soldiers aren't all that excited about getting a Purple Heart. To them, it's an award for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Hillary Frank talks with some Philadelphia veterans who are ambivalent about the honor.

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Piece Description

In 1932, General MacArthur changed the fabric Purple Heart badge to a medal. And at the last minute, he also changed the meaning: it went from a merit award to recognition of any soldier who had been injured in battle. But some soldiers aren't all that excited about getting a Purple Heart. To them, it's an award for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Hillary Frank talks with some Philadelphia veterans who are ambivalent about the honor.

Broadcast History

First aired on American Public Media's Weekend America on 2/17/07.

Transcript

LEDE: In 1932, General MacArthur changed the fabric Purple Heart badge to a medal. And at the last minute, he also changed the meaning: it went from a merit award to recognition of any soldier who had been injured in battle. But some soldiers aren't all that excited about getting a Purple Heart. To them, it's an award for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Hillary Frank talks with some Philadelphia veterans who are ambivalent about the honor.
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Louis Namm has been out of the military for 38 years, but he still starts his day at four in the morning.


tape?[:06] Louis: get up, put on my legs, get cleaned up, shave, comb my hair...

Louis doesn?t walk like he puts on his legs before heading to work. Maybe because he?s had almost four decades to get used to prosthetic limbs. He lost his legs from just about the knee down in Vietnam, when he was leading a squad throug...
Read the full transcript

Related Website

http://www.purpleheart.org/