Manila named Purple Heart City
Manila was named a Purple Heart City and presented a plaque at the September City Council meeting held Monday, Sept. 24.
Everett Evans, commander of the Military Order of Purple Heart, Northeast Arkansas Chapter 708 in Jonesboro, made the presentation of the plaque thanking Manila Mayor Wayne Wagner and city officials for recognizing the sacrifices made by veterans.
Also in attendance were area veterans and representatives from Herman Davis Post 197.
Gregg Roll, Post 197 commander, displayed two Purple Heart City signs to be placed along the highway. An additional two Purple Heart City signs have been ordered along with two Purple Heart County Signs to be placed along the highways leading into Manila and the county lines. Roll said the signs were purchased by Post 197 and donations by Justice of the Peace Michael White, Rep. Johnny Rye and other individuals.
"We have several Purple Heart recipients in this area," Roll said.
Commander Evans gave the history of the Purple Heart, the oldest military medal, established in 1782 by George Washington as a badge of military merit.
He told of the changes in the Purple Heart throughout the years saying the present design was created in 1931 under the leadership of General Douglas MacArthur, head of the war department. At one time it was issued for valor and merit. It was changed from medal of valor in 1941 to a combat-related wounded medal.
Evans said the latest change to the Purple Heart is the recognition of military men and women who are suffering from PTS brain injuries.
Evans talked about the Purple Heart organization with 46,000 members. It was established in 1958 as a way of honoring purple heart recipients as well as other veterans.
“The signs, Purple Heart Trails, Purple Heart Cities, Purple Heart Bridges and Purple Heart Counties, are a way to remind people of the sacrifices made to give them the freedom to drive down the highways,” Evans said. “Freedom is not free. It is paid for by blood. It is an honor for me to present Manila with this plaque proclaiming it as a Purple Heart City.”
Evans read the inscription on the plaque: “The Military Order of the Purple Heart Special Recognition Award is bestowed with pride to The City of Manila, Arkansas, for your dedication and support honoring America's combat wounded veterans becoming the Purple Heart City. Presented by the Patriot Members of Northeast Arkansas Chapter 708 Jonesboro, Military Order of the Purple Heart, U.S.A.”
Senator Wallace commented Purple Heart awards are given for the men and women who shed their blood for this country.
“We are still learning about the brain injuries mentioned,” Sen. Wallace said. “We have young veterans, many across Buffalo Island, who are suffering from PTS injuries. They do not have outward marks but they have inward scars.”
He expressed his appreciation to the city of Manila for their recognition of the wounded veterans and becoming a Purple Heart City.
Mayor Wagner recognized all of the veterans present, including two council members, and had them join together to receive the award thanking them for their service.
Veterans received a standing ovation from those present.