HAMPTONBURGH, N.Y. – An artist has mowed an 850,000-square-foot rendering of a Purple Heart medal into a park field to honor the 75th anniversary of the medal that commends servicemembers killed or wounded in action.
The rendering, which was unveiled Sunday in Thomas Bull Memorial Park in this city 55 miles northwest of New York City, was done by field artist and painter Roger Baker, whose past works include the Statue of Liberty and Elvis Presley.
According to Baker, the project followed a chance meeting with Bill Bacon, membership director of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. After meeting with officials from The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor and Orange County parks, the plan was on.
The New Windsor Cantonment, in what is now Orange County, was the final encampment of the Revolutionary Army. To honor the service of select troops, Gen. George Washington presented a small purple cloth Badge of Merit — the precursor to the Purple Heart medal.
In 1932, the Purple Heart was awarded to 150 veterans of World War I. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor opened in New Windsor in 2006.
Baker's design was based on a photograph of the medal awarded to Art Livesey, a Middletown, N.Y., Marine Corps veteran who was wounded at Iwo Jima.