Journey through the history of heroes at the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
Take a journey through military history in Orange County in this week’s Road Trip: Close to Home.
The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor pays tribute to those heroes who have been distinguished with America's oldest military decoration.
"The Purple Heart is an American Military Award, awarded to American service members, who were wounded or killed by enemy action," says Peter Bedrossian, of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.
There’s no museum quite like it in the country. "We've been open since 2006, and our mission here is to collect, preserve and share the stories of Purple Heart recipients," says Bedrossian.
Besides seeing these pieces of history, you can interact with them too. Touch screen displays allow you to follow along the journeys of about a dozen service members, where you can hear how they started in the military, their combat stories, and their sacrifices. Some are even local to the Hudson Valley.
You'll even learn about the first woman to receive a Purple Heart and hear from Gold Star families. "Others need to know of those sacrifices and it’s our pleasure and obligation to provide that information to the visitor," says Bedrossian.
In the Roll of Honor, you can look up a Purple Heart recipient in their database, which is growing every single day. It's estimated that 1.8 million Purple Hearts have been awarded since 1932.
But because there’s no official government list naming every recipient-- they're asking for help. "Every day in the mail, we receive new enrollments. Some will email us or send it by snail mail, and the stories we get are amazing stories," adds Bedrossian.
Thousands of visitors stop in each year. "It was awesome, very informative, very friendly," says Samuel Jenkins, of New Windsor. "It's a great way to spend an afternoon, get back in touch with your history. And I think, also learn something at the same time."
The Hall of Honor is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.