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Old 08-06-2007, 03:12 PM
GyBill GyBill is offline
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Huge Purple Heart mowed into N.Y. field

Huge Purple Heart mowed into N.Y. field

Artist honors medal’s 75th anniversary
The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Aug 6, 2007 14:02:28 EDT

HAMPTONBURGH, N.Y. — An artist has mowed an 850,000-square-foot rendering of a Purple Heart into a park field to honor the 75th anniversary of the medal that commends U.S. service members killed or wounded in action.

The rendering, which was to be unveiled Sunday in Thomas Bull Memorial Park in this city 55 miles northwest of New York City, was done by field artist and painter Roger Baker, whose past works have portrayed the Statue of Liberty and Elvis Presley.

According to Baker, the project followed a chance meeting with Bill Bacon, membership director of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. After meeting with officials from The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor and Orange County parks, the plan was on.

The New Windsor Cantonment, in what is now Orange County, N.Y., was the final encampment of the Revolutionary Army in 1782. To honor the service of select troops, Gen. George Washington presented a small Badge of Military Merit made of purple cloth— the precursor to the Purple Heart medal.

In 1932, the Purple Heart was formally brought back and awarded to 150 veterans of World War I. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor opened in New Windsor in 2006.

Baker’s design was based on a photograph of the medal awarded to Art Livesey, a Marine Corps veteran who was wounded at Iwo Jima.

On Saturday, dozens of soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were honored during a Purple Heart anniversary ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library near Simi Valley, Calif.

“You went into combat and were wounded. God love you. We admire you. We are grateful to you,” said former Gov. Pete Wilson during ceremonies organized by Yellow Ribbon America, a military support group.

Among those honored was Sgt. Maj. Jesse Acosta, 50, who was hit by shrapnel from a mortar shell during a morning run at his Baghdad base in January 2006. He lost both eyes, his top teeth and his senses of smell and taste.

Several speakers referred to the Vietnam War, when returning service members were at times treated with scorn. Now, with polls showing the American public souring on the Iraq war, the speakers warned against making the same mistake.

“As Americans, we must never again blame the warrior for the mistakes of war makers in Washington,” said former California Gov. Gray Davis, who served in Vietnam as an Army officer.

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