Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

September 19, 2006

For Release: Immediate
Press Contact:
Wendy Gibson
Catherine Jimenez

Plans Underway To Open National Purple Heart Hall Of Honor

Facility Paying Tribute to Veterans across the Country Will Open November 10

(ALBANY, NY -- September 19, 2006...) -- The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation together with the Military Order of the Purple Heart, today announced plans for the formal opening of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor at the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site in New Windsor, New York. The new facility and visitor center, which will share the stories of America's Purple Heart recipients and their service to the country, will be dedicated on Friday, November 10, 2006.

The Hall of Honor will be the first in the nation to recognize the more than 1.7 million Americans wounded or killed in action while serving in the United States Military, and will become the nation's sole repository dedicated to the preservation of these stories of sacrifice. The Hall is collecting and preserving the stories of Purple Heart recipients from all branches of service and across generations in an attempt to ensure that all recipients are represented. These stories will be preserved and shared through a series of exhibits, live and videotaped interviews with veterans themselves, and the Roll of Honor, an interactive computer program detailing the stories of each individual.

The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor will include a 7,500 sq. ft. facility with a reception area, gallery, exhibit hall, learning and education center for school groups and tours, and presentation room. Through historical photographs, documentary film footage, period objects and videotaped recollections by the veterans themselves, the Hall will provide a multi-media show exploring the spirit of the American people in times of crisis.

The opening day's events include the official dedication of the Hall of Honor, formal military ceremony and displays, performance by USO of Metropolitan NY, and book signing by author Deborah Tainsh. In addition, military re-enactors will be on site to interpret the history of the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site with other activities to include lectures, children's activities, information displays and food vendors.

General parking will be available with shuttle transportation running continuously throughout the day from the parking area to the Hall of Honor. Designated handicap parking will be available to those vehicles with officially-issued handicap plates or placards.

Governor Pataki has committed more than $4 million toward the planning, design and development of the Hall of Honor. The project also enjoys the generous support of veterans and their families, Congresswoman Sue Kelly, Senator William J. Larkin, Jr., the Elaine and William Kaplan Family Private Foundation and the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the national organization whose members are Purple Heart recipients. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor also enjoys the proud support of Prilosec OTC as a major sponsor of the opening ceremonies.

Earlier this year, the New York State Parks began a nationwide search for Purple Heart medal recipients to share stories for inclusion in exhibits and programs at Hall of Honor. The search for stories is ongoing and the Hall of Honor continues to work with veterans and families to collect invaluable personal information on the background and service information of each recipient, the circumstances surrounding their wounding, the photographs and letters home, and copies of discharge forms or citations that document receipt of the medal.

New Windsor Cantonment was the final winter encampment of General George Washington's northern Continental Army during the American Revolution. It was during this period that General Washington created the Badge of Military Merit and officers met at the Cantonment to choose the candidates for the new award, a heart-shaped badge of purple cloth presented for valor. The present-day Purple Heart medal took as its inspiration the color and shape of the Badge and added the image of George Washington to honor the man who so valued the outstanding service of his solders. Today it is a service-wide award to the wounded or those killed in action.

Families who would like to share their story or other materials of Purple Heart recipients to be considered for the exhibition or archives to support the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, please contact the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, P.O. Box 207, Vails Gate, New York, 12584 or call (845) 561-1765. Tax deductible gifts to the Hall can also be made to the facility and directed to the Friends of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, Inc. . NPHHH.

Additional information and updates about the opening day's events can be found at