Rose Bud officially became the seventh city in White County to become a Purple Heart City last week.
According to Mayor Shawn Gorham, the town started the process of becoming a Purple Heart City in November 2018 when veteran Bill Morton made a presentation to the council.
“He told us that he thought that Rose Bud would be a great addition to the Purple Heart cities,” Gorham said. He said the Rose Bud City Council passed a proclamation to become a Purple Heart City that same night, and Gorham signed off on it at a December meeting as mayor elect.
After that, he said, Morton did not get back with them and it “kind of fell on the back-burner” during the busyness of spring and summer events.
On Monday night, however, the “final step” of the process was initiated when Gorham read the signed proclamation and Jimmy Lewis, a Purple Heart recipient, made a presentation to the council.
“The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration presently in use,” Gorham read from the proclamation. It was “ first created as the badge of military merit by George Washington in 1782.”
The award, according to the document, is given to members of the U.S. Armed Forced who have been wounded or killed in battle.
“Many former residents of Rose Bud have made the ultimate sacrifice in giving their lives in the cause of freedom,” Gorham read, and “numerous combat wounded veterans” reside in and “contribute to the community in countless ways.”
Lewis, a resident of Star City and Purple Heart recipient who spent 25 years in the military, said it was his honor to present the distinction to f Rose Bud.
Lewis first showed the council a combat wounded Purple Heart parking space sign, which businesses could purchase to designate parking spots for Purple Heart recipients.
A lot of recipients, according to Lewis, are “hurt but they’re not disabled, so we came up with this idea and got this going.”
He also presented a sign that read “Purple Heart City,” which Gorham said the city would purchase to display at its four entrances into town.
Lewis said he would also bring a plaque to the city. “I appreciate you guys becoming a Purple Heart City,” he said.
When Higginson became a Purple Heart City last year, Morton said, “Here’s what it does for the person that sees the [Purple Heart] sign while driving down the highway: All of a sudden, part of their heart just thumps a little bit more. And [they] probably think, ‘This must be a great place. I’m going to slow down and go into town and see what they’re doing for the veterans here.’”
Gorham said that when the council initially heard Morton’s presentation last November, “it was basically described that it was another way of being able to honor our veterans that did so much for us, so it was a no-brainer.”
Although the city already has a veterans memorial, Gorham said, “this just allowed us to honor them a step further for their bravery for everything that they’ve sacrificed for us. To us, it was just simply another way of showing our respect and our honor and our appreciation for our Purple Heart recipients.”