City honors vets, votes to be Purple Heart City

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published July 28, 2015


STERLING HEIGHTS — Sterling Heights City Council members recently showed their heart for the military and veterans when they unanimously voted July 21 to pass a resolution that makes Sterling Heights a Purple Heart City.

As part of the resolution, the city agrees to observe Aug. 7 as National Purple Heart Day.

According to Amanda Thomas, the city’s management services specialist, the U.S. military’s Purple Heart medal has a history that stretches back to the days of George Washington, when it used to be called the Badge of Military Merit. The medal is awarded to veterans who are injured or killed while in combat.

The resolution was approved as members of Chapter 1818 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart watched. The military order was founded in 1932 to aid and protect the interests of veterans who have earned the medal. According to Thomas, the group has around 45,000 members nationwide.

“By becoming a Purple Heart City, the city of Sterling Heights is demonstrating its support for the Military Order of the Purple Heart and its members, as well as all veterans of the United States Armed Forces,” Thomas said.

After the City Council voted, the city received a special flag and a plaque from the military order’s Chapter 1818 and Cmdr. Larry Pretzer.

“Now this flag here can be flown 24/7 out there,” Pretzer said. “It would be a great honor for us that you would fly this flag in honor of all the veterans of Sterling Heights who have either died in action or who were wounded in action.”

According to Pretzer, Sterling Heights is now the sixth city in Macomb County to be a Purple Heart City. Warren was first, then Center Line, Mount Clemens, St. Clair Shores and Clinton Township jumped aboard, he said.

During post-vote discussion, council members thanked the veterans for their service. Councilwoman Barbara Ziarko proposed the idea of helping move along a process to make Michigan become a Purple Heart state, and Mayor Michael Taylor agreed.

Taylor commented on some of the brief descriptions that veterans in the audience gave of their time serving overseas.

“This is just a small token of appreciation for your service to our country,” Taylor said. “It brings chills to you to hear what you guys went through … to keep this country safe and protect it from tyranny.”

A press release states that the city plans to fly the flag on National Purple Heart Day, Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Taylor said the city will have an official flag-raising ceremony at 9 a.m. Aug. 7 at City Hall, located at 40555 Utica Road in Sterling Heights.

“We invite all the residents to come out and be a part of that,” Taylor said.

Learn more about Sterling Heights by visiting or by calling (586) 446-2489.