Okemah now a Purple Heart City
There’s no greater sacrifice for one’s country than to give of him or herself. On October 22, 2018, the Okemah City Council decided to honor those who were wounded or killed in combat by proclaiming Okemah as a Purple Heart City.
The designation is given by the state Military Order of the Purple Heart as a thank you to veterans and as a reminder to the community of the sacrifices servicemen and women have made. A Purple Heart is awarded to any armed forces member wounded or killed in combat.
The mission of the Military Order of the Purple Heart is to foster an environment of goodwill and camaraderie among combat wounded veterans, promote patriotism, support necessary legislative initiatives, and most importantly, provide service to all veterans and their families.
The process of becoming a Purple Heart City begins with the recognition by the city that a number of its citizens have been awarded the Purple Heart as a result of serving as a member in, or with the Armed Forces of the United States, and having been killed or wounded, or died of wounds while engaged in armed combat with an enemy force, or posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action.
Ron Gott, Senior Vice Commander of Oklahoma with the American Legion started the process to have Okemah become a Purple Heart City. Gott approached the council on October 22 and presented the idea. Gott informed the council that the city would be put on the Purple Heart Trail.
The Purple Heart Trail was established in 1992 by the Military Order of the Purple Heart to be a symbolic trail throughout all 50 states to commemorate and honor all men and women who have received the Purple Heart. Signs placed at various locations notate those roads and highways where legislation has been passed to designate parts of the national road system as The Purple Heart Trail. There are currently designated sections in 45 states as well as Guam. He also told the council that a plaque would be presented to hang in City Hall.
After Gott’s presentation, the council voted to pass the following resolution unanimously.
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF OKEMAH, OKLAHOMA, PROCLAIMING THE CITY OF OKEMAH AS A PURPLE HEART CITY.WHEREAS, the people of the City of Okemah, in the State of Oklahoma desire to recognize and honor its citizens who have selflessly served their country and community through the United States Armed Forces; andWHEREAS, the Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration in present use and was initially created as the badge of military merit by General George Washington in 1782; andWHEREAS, the Purple Heart was the first American service award or decoration made available to the common soldier and is specifically awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who have been wounded or paid the ultimate sacrifice in combat with a declared enemy of the United States of America; andWHEREAS, the mission of the Military Order of the Purple Heart is to foster an environment of goodwill among the combat-wounded veteran members and their families, promote patriotism, support legislative initiatives, and most importantly – make sure we never forget; andWHEREAS, the Okemah area has a large, highly decorated veteran population including many Purple Heart recipients; andWHEREAS, the City of Okemah appreciates the sacrifices our Purple Heart recipients made in defending our freedoms and believe it is important we acknowledge them for their courage and show them the honor and support they have earned.NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF OKEMAH, STATE OF OKLAHOMA:That the City of Okemah is hereby proclaimed as a Purple Heart city and encourages the citizens of the City of Okemah to show their appreciation for the sacrifices of the Purple Heart recipients in defending our freedoms, to acknowledge their courage, and to show them the honor and support they have earned.Adopted this 22nd day of October, 2018 by the Mayor and the City Council of the City of Okemah, Oklahoma.
At the regular Okemah City Council meeting held Monday, December 10, Mayor Mike Fuller read the proclamation to those in attendance and was presented the plaque and road signs from the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Senior Vice Commander Mitch Reed from Earnest Childers Chapter 589 in Broken Arrow presented the plaque to Fuller. He commended the council for passing the resolution and said this action shows veterans that the city really does care about them.
There were also six road signs given to the city to post at various locations within city limits to inform the public that Okemah is a Purple Heart City.