Perhaps, as you’ve motored down one of California’s major highways, you’ve noticed a sign that reads “Purple Heart Trail.”
Today is National Purple Heart Day, the day each year when we honor members of our military – whether killed in action or living veterans carrying the physical scars of war – who were wounded while serving to defend the country and its Constitution.
Purple Heart Trails, in California and across the nation, were created 30 years ago to make that respect and gratitude daily – not just a one-day-a-year observance.
Congress established the Purple Heart Trail in 1992 throughout all 50 states as a visual reminder of the cost of living in a free society. Consequently, stretches of highways throughout California, through the efforts of local patriots, became designated Purple Heart Trails. Among them, I-80 bears a sign in Solano County, between Fairfield and Vallejo; a 240-mile stretch of Highway 101 from Monterey through Ventura County; and Highway 223 in Kern County, from Highway 99 to 58.
The Golden State took its devotion to Purple Heart recipients beyond highway designations and to another level when Shasta County became the nation’s first Purple Heart County in 2011. California followed a year later as the country’s first Purple Heart State. Today, more than 100 California cities and 12 counties honor Purple Heart recipients with such declarations of respect.
So, as you drive throughout the state and you come across a “Purple Heart Trail” sign, know that it is a sign that perpetually honors those who bore the brunt of freedom.