Purple Heart recipients to be honored at festival

CONYERS - The city of Conyers will honor recipients of the Purple Heart military award during the Fabulous Fourth Festival at the Georgia International Horse Park on Friday.

The special recognition is scheduled for 7 p.m. during the patriotic program of the city's annual Fourth of July event. James Randles, past national commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), will be the guest speaker, according to city officials.

The Purple Heart recognition is being brought to this year's Fabulous Fourth Festival through a partnership of the Georgia Department of Veterans Service, American Legion Post 77 and VFW Post 5290, both of Conyers.

"By highlighting the Purple Heart, we hope to honor those members in our community who have received this award and celebrate our nation's independence by remembering those who sacrifice for our freedom," said Tommy Clack from the Department of Veterans Service, in a printed release.

The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917, with the U.S. military. The original idea for the Purple Heart is the oldest symbol and award that is still given to members of the U.S. military.

The original Purple Heart, designated as the Badge of Military Merit, was established by George Washington, then commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. His actual order includes the phrase, "Let it be known that he who wears the military order of the Purple Heart has given his blood in the defense of his homeland and shall forever be revered by his fellow countrymen."

The fifth annual Fabulous Fourth Festival offers arts, crafts, live entertainment, vendors, food and children's activities beginning at 5 p.m. Friday at the Georgia International Horse Park. The event concludes with a large fireworks display at dark.

There is no charge for admission into the event and parking is also free. Blankets and lawn chairs are allowed into the event for prime fireworks viewing. Coolers and pets are prohibited.

For more information, call the Conyers Welcome Center at 770-602-2606, or visit www.conyersfabulousfourth.com for up-to-date information.

Jay Jones can be reached at jay.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.