Our community has long been committed to honoring our veterans and all those now in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Recently Grove City had the distinction of being recognized as a "Purple Heart City" by the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Purple Heart cities have a strong commitment to veterans, and our city is proud to recognize and honor the men and women of our community who faithfully served and earned a Purple Heart.

The Purple Heart is a combat decoration awarded to members of the armed forces wounded in action and to the families of those killed in action due to their injuries. It is the nation's oldest military medal still in use, dating back to the days of the American Revolution.

Formerly known as the Badge of Military Merit, it was created by Gen. George Washington in 1782 and used to honor merit among enlisted soldiers. The award was soon forgotten after the revolution.

In 1932, the Purple Heart was revived to recognize Washington's principles and to celebrate the bicentennial of his birth. Nearly 2,000,000 Purple Heart medals have been awarded since World War I.

On Sunday, Aug. 6, our community will dedicate a meditative area to our community's Purple Heart recipients, the Purple Heart Memorial Walk in Henceroth Park, 2075 Mallow Lane. The solemn ceremony will host families and friends of our Purple Heart recipients and conclude with the unveiling of a Purple Heart Memorial Walk marker honoring known community Purple Heart recipients killed in action.

The following day is the beginning of nationally observed Purple Heart week and our community's inaugural year to participate. Purple Heart cities are encouraged to light city buildings purple during the week.

After the Sunday dedication, City Hall will be lit for the first time with a purple hue while displaying the Purple Heart flag. Markers at city entrances will identify Grove City as a Purple Heart community.

Our community is widely recognized as one that cherishes patriotism and truly honors its many distinguished military heroes. Now, each year we will participate in Purple Heart Week, as a proudly designated Purple Heart City.

Join us Sunday at our Purple Heart Memorial Walk at Henceroth Park to thank and honor our community's heroes.

Richard L. "Ike" Stage is serving his fifth term as mayor of Grove City.