RONCEVERTE (WVDN) – Many of us who have relatives, friends or loved ones who have received the Purple Heart will understand why Aug. 7 each year means a day to remember, perhaps shed a tear of even embrace with a hug someone who has received the Purple Heart.
What is Purple Heart Day? To quote the information given online, “Purple Heart Day is observed on Aug. 7 each year and is a time for Americans to remember and honor the brave men and women who were either wounded on the battlefield or paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. Purple Heart Day is also known as National Purple Heart Day, Purple Heart Recognition Day and Purple Heart Appreciation Day.”
To the recipients of the Purple Heart and to those who’s loved ones have passed and did receive the Purple Heart this day means more than a one day a year remembrance. Sometimes memories can be horrific or are sad which stir in the minds of those associated with this occasion.
How has American Legion Greenbrier Post 26 become more associated with this special day? On Monday evening, Aug. 1, at the American Legion Greenbrier Post 26’s regular meeting the post received the honor of having a Purple Heart given to Post 26 from a deceased Veteran.
Ira L. Fortner of Company I, Infantry Regiment, and 91st Division was awarded the Purple Heart in 1946. His Purple Heart medal was lost in the mail process for a very long time after his death. When it was found, it was given to Greenbrier County Clerk Robbin Loudermilk to see if she could find a relative to give the Purple Heart to.
Fortner was a resident of Greenbrier County in Ronceverte. Help was solicited from the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office to locate any relative of Fortner’s as well as other sources. None could be located so the decision was made to give the Purple Heart to the local American Legion in Ronceverte for safe keeping and display.
American Legion Greenbrier Post 26 Commander Barbara Burdette was called and asked if Post 26 would like this medal.
Burdette was much honored and considered it a great privilege to have the honor bested on Ronceverte’s American Legion Post.
Monday evening, Aug. 1, was a somber meeting with a few tears shed among the veterans attending.
Loudermilk and Captain Kevin Sawyers from the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office presented the Purple Heart to Burdette which will be given a place of honor along with Fortner’s honorable discharge paper. Anyone desiring to view Fortner’s Purple Heart can come by during our regular meeting schedule.
American Legion Greenbrier Post 26 is very thankful and honored to have been the recipient of this Purple Heart.
|Captain Kevin Sawyers and Robbin Loudermilk|
|Captain Kevin Sawyers (l to r), Commander Barbara Burdette and Robbin Loudermilk|