FORT JENNINGS — Members of The Military Order of The Purple Heart conducted a ceremony Tuesday with the Village of Fort Jennings in honor of the upcoming Memorial Day holiday. Fort Jennings has been announced as a Purple Heart city. The event was held at the Fort Jennings American Legion Hall.
Fort Jennings American Legion, Delphos Veterans of Foreign War, Ottoville Veterans of Foreign War, Columbus Grove Veterans of Foreign War, and the State Commander and cabinet from the Ohio Department of the Military Order of the Purple Heart took part in the ceremony.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart presented Mayor Jim Smith a plaque and a Purple Heart flag. Becoming a Purple Heart city means the community supports servicemen and women either killed or wounded in combat.
Fort Jennings resident Jim Dickman said this was the first village in the nation with this designation. He said it was important to honor our veterans.
“There may be cities that have this Purple Heart designation, but we’re a village,” he said proudly. Smith said he had deep personal reasons for promoting honoring veterans.
Mayor Smith read a proclamation approved by Fort Jennings Council in January declaring August 7 as Purple Heart Day in Fort Jennings. Smith said they will celebrate the day Aug. 17 during the Fort Fest three-day festival.
The proclamation paid tribute to the more than 1.7 million veterans who have received Purple Hearts since World War I. Two Putnam County Purple Heart recipients were in attendance.
Dickman said local veteran groups began recent recognition and honor of veterans by supporting the renovation at the Fort Jennings Memorial Hall. “Now they are supporting this very important event,” he said.
“This is awesome that Fort Jennings has made a commitment to honor these soldiers,” said Will Thompson, of Bluffton, a Purple Heart recipient from the Iraq War. He hopes to help Lima to become a Purple Heart city.
“The Purple Heart is given to those soldiers injured in combat from enemy contact,” Smith explained. He said there is a sister organization known as the Wounded Warriors that provides support to those in the military who are injured in combat, non-combat incidents and during training.
“This is an important program too,” Thompson said.