The Johns Creek City Council recently honored the sacrifice of local veterans who have received the Order of the Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat by declaring Johns Creek a Purple Heart City. The city is now part of the symbolic and honorary Purple Heart Trail, a system of highways, roads, bridges, and monuments that have been designated to pay tribute to those men and women who have been awarded the Purple Heart. A Purple Heart street sign was presented on May 11 at the City Council meeting by Douglas J. Middleton, commander of the Georgia Department of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and Vice Commander Walter Swenson. Members of the Johns Creek Veterans Association who are Purple Heart recipients, Army Sgt. Joe LaBranche (not present), Marine Cpl. Peter Manfre, Army Lt. Ron Adams, and Army Capt. Wayne Kidd were invited to the ceremony.
Mayor Mike Bodker noted that the Purple Heart award was created by Gen. George Washington in 1783 to be awarded to members of the armed services who have been wounded or killed in duty against a declared foreign enemy. He said, “The city, by designating the city as a Purple Heart City, acknowledges the sacrifices of so many.” Middleton added that “such ceremonies encourage citizens to show their special appreciation of these veterans’ sacrifices in defense of freedom” and “acknowledge these veterans’ courage and show them the honor and support they have earned.”
The Purple Heart Trail creates a visual reminder to all who travel on those roads that others have paid a high price for our freedom to travel and live in a free society. There are currently designated sections of the Purple Heart Trail in 45 states and in Guam.