Historian's Corner

Charlene Cole
Sandy Creek/Lacona Historian
Historian's Corner
October 18, 2013

Photo: Purple Heart Memorial Highway  

On a recent trip out west I came across this sign at a rest stop, Purple Heart Memorial Highway. It reads: On May 24, 2012, the South Dakota DOT's Transportation Commission officially declared Interstate 90 from the Minnesota border to the Wyoming border as South Dakota's segment of the National
Purple Heart Memorial Highway.  The Purple Heart Memorial Highway Trail was established in 1922 by the military order of the Purple Heart to be a symbolic trail throughout all 50 states and U.S. territories to commemorate and honor all men and women who have been wounded or killed in combat while serving in the United States Armed Services.

The trail originates in Mt. Vernon, Virginia, which is the burial location of George Washington. The Purple Heart Medal is specifically a combat decoration
and is our Nation's oldest Military medal. It was first created by George Washington in 1782 and was known as the Badge of Military Merit. The Purple
Heart Medal is awarded to members of the armed forces of the United States who have either been wounded or killed in action by an enemy of the United States. The purpose of the Purple Heart Trail is to create a symbolic and honorary system of roads, highways, bridges and other monuments that give tribute to the men and woman who have received the Purple Heart Medal. As you travel the Purple Heart Trails, please take a moment to remember the sacrifices that have been paid for our nation's freedom.