FLEMINGTON, NJ – The county Freeholders declared Hunterdon a “Purple Heart Community” at their regular meeting Tuesday.

The resolution coincided with the 73rd anniversary of the D-Day invasion, and recognized the sacrifice of all military members who have been wounded or killed while serving the nation in a time of war.

The Freeholders were joined by members of the Chapter 700 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, including D-Day veteran Richard Betts.

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“We who live in freedom owe an unpayable debt to those who have risked and sacrificed so much to protect our nation, particularly the Purple Heart awardees who were wounded or killed in the line of duty,” said Freeholder Director John E. Lanza stated. “The Freeholders are honored to join with communities throughout the country in having our County designated a Purple Heart Community."

Vietnam veterans who are members of Chapter 700, Marines Kevin Cahalan, Adam Mackow, and John Paulus, and Army veteran Joseph Diaz, joined Betts, a Navy veteran, in presenting several road signs that will be placed on various county roadways recognizing Hunterdon as a Purple Heart Community.

The Purple Heart, first awarded during World War I, is the oldest military award still given to U.S. military members. It is awarded to any member of the Armed Forces who have been wounded or killed while serving. National Geographic estimated in a 2009 report that nearly 2 million Purple Hearts have been awarded since 1917.