JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – August 7 was Purple Heart Day, remembering and honoring service members who were injured or killed in combat.

The Purple Heart signifies dedication to our country and makes veterans like Grant Beck remember his time served.

“I will tell you that anybody that comes into the Armed Forces, this is the last metal that they ever want to get,” said Beck. “Once you do get it, however, it signifies to others that might see it that you are in fact a Purple Heart recipient and you shed blood in the service of your country and you’re willing to go back and do it again.”

Grant Beck (Claire Curry, WNCT photo)

Beck joined the Marine Corps in 1958, serving in two tours to Vietnam. 

“The 4th of May 1971, is when I got wounded with a 122-millimeter rocket, landed about five steps behind me and kind of hit me pretty good with shrapnel,” he said.

Now, it is a day that is forever ingrained in his memory.

“I know a corpsman got to me real quick, and got me medivac out to China Beach, where the 85th Army Evacuation Hospital was, and I have no doubt in my mind that I might have bled out if he hadn’t acted that quickly,” said Beck.

The injury earned him his medal for his sacrifice and heroic actions. 

“I came back off of an operation and found the Purple Heart laying on my bunk,” he said.

Beck later became the Commander of the Beirut Memorial Chapter 642 Military Order of the Purple Heart. It is the second largest chapter in the country, with more than  800 members as Purple Heart Medal recipients.

“Remember those that have put their life on the line. Those who have signed a check to the American public payable up to and including your death. So we don’t want people to ever forget that there are people who will step up and do their part to protect his country,” said Beck.

The Purple Heart is the oldest medal still awarded in the U.S. military.