Lincoln, NE (KOLN) - The Military Order of the Purple Heart isn't a large organization. Nationally it only has 45,000 members, and here in Lincoln, the chapter holds less than 100 members, but those Purple Heart veterans span from World War II all the way through the Afghanistan and Iraqi Wars.
"We're a special breed, we shed blood for these Purple Hearts." says State Commander Jim Varejcka, a Vietnam War veteran.
On Monday afternoon at the Lincoln City Council meeting, a proclamation was presented that recognized Lincoln as a 'Purple Heart City'. Trent Fellers, the chair of the city council said, "These are the guys that have sacrificed so much for our freedoms and have really paid a price for those freedoms and it's a small gesture for us to honor these purple heart veterans today and declare Lincoln as a Purple Heart City."
The gesture, while it may be small, means a lot of Jim Varejcka and all the other Purple Heart veterans in the Military Order of the Purple Heart chapter here in Lincoln, but it's not just for them, it's for all the Purple Heart recipients in the city. The Order presented the city with a special plaque and a Purple Heart Flag at Monday's ceremony, a flag you might see flying in the city on August 7th which is Purple Heart Day.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart tries to get cities, counties, and states to become 'Purple Heart' places. You might recognize Highway 34 in north Lincoln as apart of this as it's been named 'Purple Heart Highway'. Varejcka says that it's all about recognizing those who bled for their country.
At today's ceremony, the Order also found out that Lancaster County will be declared as a 'Purple Heart County', now all that's left according to Varejcka is to get the state on board.
To join the Military Order of the Purple Heart, you must have received the Purple Heart. If you have and are interested in joining the Order, you can find more information on their webpage, which is linked above. According to Varejcka, it's $50.00 for a lifetime membership and they meet once a month at the VA here in Lincoln.