Sergeant Randy McConnell was only 21 when he received his first Purple Heart in Vietnam. As he was collecting an enemy body, a white phosphorous grenade went off and burned McConnell on the chest. McConnell went on to earn seven Purple Heart Medals—more than any other living soldier.

Sgt. McConnell’s story exemplifies the heroism and courage shown by the over 1.8 million warriors who have received the Purple Heart since the 18th century.

The Purple Heart first started under George Washington as the Badge of Military Merit. It was renamed and redesigned under General Douglas McArthur in 1931. Today, the Purple Heart is awarded to heroes who died or were wounded in combat.

In honor of the day Washington started the award, the Military Order of the Purple Heart officially named August 7 as National Purple Heart Day. The Purple Heart remains a symbol of our service members’ courage and sacrifice. Today, Concerned Veterans for America Foundation remembers all Purple Heart recipients who have given so much for our country.