TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Fred H. Madden (D – Gloucester, Camden) and Donald Norcross (D – Camden, Gloucester) that would designate Route 42 as the “Route 42 Purple Heart Memorial Highway” was approved unanimously yesterday by the full Assembly, sending it to the desk of Governor Chris Christie.
“The Purple Heart is the country’s oldest military decoration still in use, established to recognize outstanding examples of bravery and sacrifice by our soldiers,” said Madden, who recently was named the New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Legislator of the Year. “This designation is a tribute to the men and women who were awarded this honor. It also offers a way to recognize all of our military personnel who keep us safe at home and abroad through service in our nation’s Armed Forces.”
“The Route 42 Purple Heart Memorial Highway will honor the men and women who have received this prestigious award for their exceptional bravery and courage,” said Senator Norcross, a member of the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “It will also serve as a reminder to those traveling this local roadway of the sacrifice made by our troops every single day so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we do in this country.”
The bill, S-578, would permit the Commissioner of the state Department of Transportation to solicit private donations for the purchase, production or building of any signs reflecting the change.
The Purple Heart is America’s oldest military decoration. General George Washington established the Purple Heart in 1782 to reward troops for “unusual gallantry.” The Purple Heart is awarded as a medal and a ribbon (worn on the left side of the uniform) according to the U.S. Army study guide. Currently, the Purple Heart is awarded to extraordinarily brave service members or given posthumously to the next of kin of those killed in action. This bill would honor all Purple Heart recipients–past, present, and future, for their heroic service.
The Senate approved the bill in February by a vote of 40-0. The Assembly voted 77-0 to approve the measure.