There were several occurrences of official government action on this date. In 1782 George Washington ordered the creation of the Badge of Military Merit to honor soldiers wounded in battle. It was later renamed the Purple Heart. In 1786 the first federal Indian Reservation was created in the US, a preview of the massive tribal relocations to come over the next century in our shameful treatment and segregation of Native Americans. Coincidentally three years later in 1786, the Department of War was established (we know it now as the euphemistical Department of Defense). In 1964 with just two nays the Tonkin Gulf Resolution was passed to allow Pres LBJ more latitude in prosecuting the Vietnam War. It was later shown to be based on false information and hype. And in 1978 President Carter declared a federal emergency at Love Canal due to the negligent disposal of toxic waste.

Birthdays on this date include American Revolutionary general Nathaniel Greene (1742), Kenyan-English paleontologist and archeologist Louis Leakey (1903), American scientist, civil rights activist, and diplomat Ralph Bunche (1904), the only baseball player to pitch a perfect game in the World Series Don Larsen (1929), and the Prairie Home Companion humorist Garrison Keillor (1942), who introduced us to Lake Wobegon.

Those who left us this day include comedian and film star Oliver Hardy (1957 of the Laurel and Hardy duo), Canadian-American journalist and author Peter Jennings (2005), long-time Senator and former Oregon governor Mark Hatfield (2011), and American historian and author David McCullough (2022) who if you haven’t read you really should.

And today is National Purple Heart Day in the US.