Monday, November 22, 2021

A visit to the Purple Heart Hall of Honor

 The Purple Heart is awarded to US service men and women who are injured in combat. It is not something you want to receive, but it is a special tribute to those who are injured or killed in defense of their country. 

The Purple Heart was created by George Washington at the end of the Revolution. It was restarted in honor of the soldiers injured or killed in World War I and remains a military honor today. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, NY, which is where the Army was stationed when Washington created the honor originally. The Hall of Honor shares the grounds with the New Windsor Cantonment, which is where the Army was stationed, and there is a part of it set up as a museum with artifacts from the Revolution, as well as some buildings from Revolutionary time. 

My brother and I visited the Hall of Honor and Cantonment several weeks back. It's a bit of a somber place to visit, especially reading the stories of those who were lost and seeing what those who were injured had to endure, but it's an excellent place to visit if you are into history, as I am. 

This is the outside of the building, taken from the parking lot. 

I'm not sure if these are benches or decorations. 
A large sculpture is in the main lobby.
A wall talking about why this area is important to the musuem.

The museum section has artifacts from all the main units of the US Military with informative text on each of them. All of this text appears on my website, so I could read it later. 

There are several freestanding display cases with artifacts.

There's also a large glass display case with mannequins modeling military outfits through the years.

There are computer screens with detailed information on all the artifacts. I couldn't stand there long enough to read them all but I did take this picture to show what it looks like.

This quote really encompasses everything about the Award. 
The second room has displays of weaponry and also tools and paraphernalia on treating injuries. 
And part of a helicopter from Vietnam era.
a bazooka

An actual Purple Heart medal, one of several in the Hall of Honor.

This next series is a lot of reading but I felt was important because it tells the complete history, so I have included it in full.

This wall is AMAZING! It's lenticular, and it shows a picture of each person when they were in the service and one later in life/current. I even took a video but it didn't capture the experience properly. It was one of my favorite parts of the museum and must be seen in person to truly appreciate. It's likely the best use of lenticular technology I've ever seen. 
a prosthetic leg (above) and hand (below)

Another medal.

As you leave the Purple Heart Hall of Honor section there is a wall of pictures in honor of those who made the Ultimate Sacrifice. It's not an easy wall to look at, but I couldn't ignore this section by any means.

Down the other end of the main hallway is the New Windsor Encampment Museum, which is focused on the time the US Army was stationed there at the end of the war. 

Revolutionary artifacts are scarce but they have some. 

After that, you go down stairs to the hall of ordinance, AKA cannons, but is also had this awesome diorama, which was 24 feet long!

These are actual cannons used during the Revolution, although in most cases the wheels and caissons are replacements.

This picture made me laugh

This one above was especially cool because it was captured on Lake George, my favorite place in the world.
and this one was captured at Saratoga
This one was French. 
One last look at the memorial wall.
After we finished in the museum we walked over to the Cantonment. It was not a great time to visit- everything was all closed up, we missed it by a week. During the summer the buildings are open and there are reenactors roaming about. While none of the buildings are original to the area,  this building here does date to the Revolution times, they just moved it here later. 

When my brother was off exploring (I was getting exhausted by this point) I turned around and noticed the monument was nearly at the height of the sun, so I took this series of pictures that I really like. 

This was the original tomb of the Unknown Soldier, before the current one in Arlington National Cemetery. These markers are very hard to read after 200 years, the two tall ones dating to the Revolution and War of 1812. 

While I only shared a small portion of the pictures here, I did take a lot more. You can see them all on my website here: Purple Heart Hall of Honor

Thank you for reading. 


  1. Billy, Thank You for this post. My father was awarded the Purple Heart in World War II. Several years ago I became aware of this museum and its on line registry through a friend of mine who is also a recipient. I was proud to enroll my Dad, thanks for the tour of the museum, it seems much more than I had expected.

    1. I'm so glad I could show this to you! There's a data center there where you can look up anyone in their database, but I didn't know anyone to look up. Checked all my family names and none came up, luckily.

  2. That Cartoon cannon is the opposite of the Pillsbury Dough Boy! Great pictures, thanks for sharing!

    1. Haha that's true! I didn't think of that at all!

  3. Excellent post, Billy, thank you. Sobering, too. I should plan a visit.

    1. You should but I recommend waiting until the old buildings are open next May I think it is.

  4. I had no idea that the original burial site for the unknown soldier was still around. Even after seeing the picture, it's still kind of hard to believe that's still there after all of this time. If it weren't so far away, I'd think about going just to see that in person.