Purple Heart Trail in Pulaski County, Missouri

Take a drive along Missouri’s interstates and highways and you are bound to notice signage depicting various counties and cites as Purple Heart communities on the Purple Heart Trail.

The purpose of the Purple Heart Trail is to create a symbolic and honorary system of roads, highways, bridges, and other monuments that give tribute to the men and women who have received the Purple Heart medal.

Pulaski County was the first county in Missouri to receive the Purple Heart County designation.

The Purple Heart Trail accomplishes this honorary goal by creating a visual reminder to those who use the road system that others have paid a high price for their freedom to travel and live in a free society. Signs placed at various locations annotate those roads and highways where legislation has been passed to designate parts of the national road system as The Purple Heart Trail.

The Purple Heart Trail was established in 1992 by the Military Order of the Purple Heart to be a symbolic trail throughout all 50 states to commemorate and honor all men and women who have been wounded or killed in combat while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The Purple Heart Trail originates at a monument in Mt Vernon, Virginia. Mt Vernon is the burial location of George Washington. This monument marks the origin of the Purple Heart Trail.

Saint Robert & Waynesville

During January 2013, Saint Robert, in Pulaski County, became the first city on the Interstate 44 corridor to become a Purple Heart City on the Purple Heart Trail. In March, Saint Robert’s sister city, Waynesville became the fifth city in Missouri to receive the Purple Heart City designation, joining in Missouri’s effort to honor those veterans who have been wounded or killed while in military service to our country. The declaration follows legislative action which made Missouri’s entire sections of Interstate 44 and 70 a Purple Heart Trail.

“The City of St. Robert seeks to recognize veterans who are recipients of the Purple Heart veteran. The Board of Alderman desire to proclaim the city of St Robert to be a Purple Heart city, honoring the sacrifices of our nation’s men and women in uniform serving to protect our freedoms.”

City of Saint Robert City Administrator Anita Ivey

Missouri’s First Purple Heart County

History was made March 25, 2013 when Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Department of Missouri, Everett Kelly made his third trip to Pulaski County in as many months to present Pulaski County Commissioners with a plaque and flag recognizing the county as a Purple Heart County. Pulaski County was the first county in Missouri to receive this designation.

History was made yet again June 3, 2013 when Disabled American Veterans Harry L Herron Chapter No 49 was recognized as a Purple Heart Supportive Chapter by the Military Order of the Purple Heart. D.A.V. Chapter 49 becomes the first service chapter to receive this designation nationwide.

Crocker, Missouri was also designated as a Purple Heart city in 2013.

“The City of Waynesville is honored to be included in this designation, as we honor the service of our valiant military.” 

City of Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman

These designations are another indicator of the prevalent patriotism that runs deep in Pulaski County, Missouri- home to heroes!

For information on booking your next military reunion in Pulaski County USA (a Purple Heart County and home of Fort Leonard Wood) please visit https://visitpulaskicounty.org/groups-reunions and email Karen Hood at karenh@pulaskicountyusa.com.

Various forms of this article were published in 2013.