Trenton, NJ – Honoring America’s bravest military servicemen and women, Acting Governor Kim Guadagno today signed legislation designating a portion of State Highway Route 42 in Camden and Gloucester Counties as the “Route 42 Purple Heart Memorial Highway.” The Purple Heart is America’s oldest military decoration, established by General George Washington in 1782 to recognize outstanding examples of bravery and sacrifice among members of our armed services. There are currently more than 2,600 members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart’s New Jersey chapter.
“There isn’t a more fitting place to mark this new law than in this area of our state which has a deep, rich history and prominent place in the founding of our nation. Today, the Purple Heart is not only an honor and recognition of the bravery and selflessness of the men and women of our armed forces, but also a connection to the tradition of courage, sacrifice, and patriotism across generations of our nation’s servicemembers,” said Acting Governor Guadagno. “I am proud to sign this bill into law, giving the honor and respect to all Purple Heart recipients – past, present, and future – that they deserve for their bravery, heroic service, and sacrifice to New Jersey and to the United States.”
During the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Gloucester in Camden County and the Battle of Red Bank in Gloucester County were both pivotal to ensuring success of the Continental Army.
“We are thrilled that Acting Governor Guadagno has made this a priority,” said New Jersey Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter Commander Neil VanEss. “It is a tribute to honor our servicemen and women, particularly those serving in combat. They are truly the heart and soul of freedom in America today.”
“The New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars organization thanks the state of New Jersey for the dedication of a section of Route 42 to the Purple Heart members. These men and women gave a great deal to the nation and state,” said Warren George, state Commander of the New Jersey VFW.
The association of the Purple Heart with wounds or fatality suffered in the line of meritorious service dates to the early 1930’s. Ten years later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt extended the use of the award to the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard. President John Kennedy extended the award to anyone serving in any capacity with an armed force and who has been wounded.
The bill, S-578, is sponsored by Senator Fred H. Madden, Jr., (D-Camden, Gloucester) and Senator Donald Norcross, (D-Camden and Gloucester).