Haysville, Kansas newly designated as the next Purple Heart City

  • Published
  • By U.S. Army Captain Candace Hoffman

Mayor Russ Kessler of Haysville, Kansas held a ceremony at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 6957 and unveiled the Purple Heart City plaque and banners to the people of Haysville and surrounding cities May 15, 2023.

To be declared a “Purple Heart City,” a mayor must deliver an official proclamation, which is then presented to the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Kessler presented the proclamation on Monday, May 8, 2023, at his city council meeting.

The Purple Heart, our nation’s oldest combat military decoration was created by Gen. George Washington in 1782. Back then, the medal began as the Badge of Military Merit. As it evolved, the medal was dedicated to honoring service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice of giving their lives on the front lines or in service to our country, while also honoring military personnel who have suffered a life-altering injury due to combat. It is said, its color was chosen because it represents valor, but it’s the medal nobody ever asks for. It weighs just over an ounce but holds the heaviness and pain of innumerable stories told and untold.

Purple Heart recipients joined city officials for this significant observance in which they also shared their remembrances while being in the military and deployed overseas.

“The Purple Heart Designation is one of the most historic commencements a city can receive, and the gratitude we have for our Veterans, service members, and their Families for their ultimate sacrifice must be recognized,” Kessler said. “By proclaiming Haysville as a Purple Heart City, we’re committing to memorizing the acts of resiliency of brave men and women. It is with much admiration, respect and honor that we salute all Veterans and Purple Heart Recipients.”

Retired U.S. Army Maj. Zachary Schuman, a Purple Heart recipient and the honorary guest speaker stated, “The signage represents peace and is humbling because a majority of the awards given out are to service members that did not make it home to their loved ones.”

Schuman brought to light the recipients are all voluntary whether it becomes public or not, “there’s a lot of different types of emotions when it comes to the Purple Heart; some say, it’s the enemy’s marksmanship award, while others embrace it and it becomes part of their family,” said Schuman.

VFW 6957 Junior Vice Commander Dan Hubert delivered a speech to the attending guests but captured the importance of having the Purple Heart designation for the city.

Haysville, a small city Southwest of Wichita, is now one of seven cities in Kansas that represents the Purple Heart trail symbolizing the city’s devotion for those who have served the nation.