Military honor

The Postal Service will release its Purple Heart Medal stamp Friday, Oct. 4.

The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the president of the United States to members of the military who have been wounded or killed in action.

According to the Military Order of the Purple Heart, an organization for combat-wounded veterans, the medal is “the oldest military decoration in the world in present use and the first award made available to a common soldier.”

The award was established by then-Gen. George Washington during the Revolutionary War and called the Badge of Military Merit, consisting of a heart made of purple cloth. It was discontinued after the war.

In 1932, on the 200th anniversary of Washington’s birth, the decoration was reinstated and redesigned as a purple heart of metal bordered by gold, suspended from a purple and white ribbon. In the center of the medal is a profile of Washington beneath his family coat of arms.

The new stamp, a redesigned version of a 2012 Purple Heart Medal stamp, features a purple border matching the brilliant purple of the medal and its ribbon.

Ira Wexler photographed the medal, while William J. Gicker served as art director and Bryan Duefrene designed the stamp.

The stamp will be available in sheets of 20 at Post Offices and