Dawn Rye | Writer
More than 1.7 million combat-wounded service people have received the Purple Heart. The medal represents the Badge of Military Merit to acknowledge soldiers who showed courage and valor on the battlefield.
However, South Dakota is coming up with another way to honor wounded veterans with the Purple Heart Trail. Signs were placed at various locations in counties, cities and businesses to pay tribute to the men and women who served and their families.
According to city records, the City of Parker adopted the resolution declaring Parker a Purple Heart Municipality in November 2018.
Wings of Valor Lodge, located south of Parker, opened its doors in November of 2020, where their mission of supporting those who have served by providing a gathering place to motivate and empower while offering to heal the mind, body and spirit of disabled veterans. During the “Gunning for our Heroes” event held Saturday, Sept. 25, hundreds of volunteers and veterans across the nation had the opportunity to view the lodge and why it’s part of the Purple Heart Trail.
The Dakotas Purple Heart Division Commander and Vietnam veteran Ken Teunissen said the Wings Valor received the Purple Heart Trail sign recently. The Purple Heart Trail sign allows their business to bring awareness to veterans, families and Purple Heart recipients across the United States. He explained that the Purple Heart Trail originates at a monument in Mt Vernon, Virginia. Mt Vernon is the burial location of George Washington. In 1992 the Military Order of the Purple Heart was a symbolic trail throughout all 50 states to commemorate and honor those who have served and were wounded in combat.
Visit purpleheart.org for more information about becoming a Purple Heart Trail recipient