Stone County and the city of Mountain View have joined other Arkansas communities in honoring Purple Heart recipients, and now the new bridge over Little Raccoon Creek on Highway 5 South is the first bridge in the state to be designated a Purple Heart Bridge.
A dedication for the bridge signs is planned for Nov. 10, according to Stone County Veterans Service Officer William Stroud. This date was chosen to allow Rep. Rick Crawford and other congressmen to attend. Crawford will be in town that day anyway for another event, Stroud said.
The date also coincides with Veterans Day on Nov. 11. Stroud approached the county and city of Mountain View last year about becoming a Purple Heart county and city. There is no particular requirement to do this, just a wish on the part of the community to honor Purple Heart recipients.
Officials agreed, and they placed signs at each entrance to the county and city limits. There are eight county signs and five city ones. Stroud is also involved with the Stone County Honor Guard and said one of their members suggested they make the new bridge a Purple Heart Memorial location. Stroud approached the quorum court about this, and they agreed and passed a resolution.
The Stone County Honor Guard purchased the two signs for the bridge, and the Highway Department put them up, after an approval process.
The designation of cities and other locations to honor Purple Heart recipients is a program of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH). This organization was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all who have received the decoration, according to its website. It is composed exclusively of Purple Heart recipients.
According to a map provided by the MOPH, 16 counties and approximately 43 cities in Arkansas have been designated as Purple Heart localities. The state of Arkansas is a Purple Heart State, and seven other sites also have the designation, including Camp Joseph T. Robinson in North Little Rock, the State Capitol Building, Arkansas State University, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and Little Rock, and Sage Meadow Golf Course in Jonesboro.
The “Coon Creek” Bridge in Stone County is the only Purple Heart Bridge in the state.
See the full story in the July 26, 2017 issue.