This week, we celebrate Purple Heart Day, meaning it’s a time to remember the men and women who have been honored with this prestigious military award. This award is given out to members of the U.S. military who were injured or killed by enemy forces while serving their country.
In honor of Purple Heart Day, we’ve compiled five famous people who have been honored with the Purple Heart. Scroll through these famous names and give thanks for the sacrifices they made for their country!
Garner had a successful career in Hollywood starring in television shows like “Maverick” and movies like Murphy’s Romance and The Notebook. However, long before he headed to Hollywood, Garner served in the Merchant Marines towards the end of World War II.
Garner continued his military career by serving in the National Guard for seven months and eventually joining the army during the Korean War. During his career in the military, Garner was injured on two separate occasions. The first came when he was hit by mortar round shrapnel, injuring him in the face and hand. The second time he was injured, he was hit in the buttocks by U.S. fighter jets as he was diving into a foxhole. As a result of this, Garner was awarded two Purple Hearts.
Bronson is known for the “tough guy” roles he played in such movies as The Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape and Once Upon a Time in the West. However, his service in the military shows that Bronson was even tougher than the characters he portrayed onscreen.
Bronson enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943 and began his career as a truck driver before working his way up to becoming a tail gunner of a B-29. He ended up being injured during World War II and was awarded the Purple Heart for his service. Once he returned home, Bronson used his GI Bill to study acting, and his career in Hollywood began soon thereafter.
This Hollywood star is best known for his roles in movies like Dog Day Afternoon and Tootsie, but many do not know that he actually received three Purple Hearts during his distinguished military service.
Durning was drafted into the Army when he was 20, just in time for World War II. He earned his first Purple Heart after he was injured during the invasion at Normandy. Once he recovered, he returned to the battlefield and was injured two more times before the end of the war, earning two more Purple Hearts.
Arness is best known for starring as Marshall Matt Dillon in the TV series Gunsmoke for more than fifty years. Before that, however, Arness had a distinguished military career that ended with him earning the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
Arness joined the Army in 1943 with the hopes of becoming a fighter pilot, but poor eyesight ended that dream, so he became a rifleman. Being 6’7, Arness was chosen to get off the boat first during an invasion in Anzio, Italy to see how deep the water was. This made him the first target of enemy fire, and he was shot in the right leg, resulting in an injury that caused him pain for the rest of his life. It was this injury that earned him the Purple Heart.
Marvin played many war heroes onscreen in films like The Dirty Dozen, but it turns out he was actually a war hero himself in real life. He enlisted in the Marines in 1942 at the age of 18, and he was immediately deployed overseas. Marvin was injured in the assault on Mount Tapochau in the Battle of Saipan, during which most of the men in his company were killed.
During this battle, machine gun fire severed Marvin’s sciatic nerve and he was also hit in the foot by a sniper. Marvin was in recovery in military hospitals for over a year, and it was only after the war that his Hollywood career began.
Please join us in saying a prayer for all Purple Heart recipients! God bless all of you, and thank you for your sacrifices!