ROCKLAND — Members of Winslow-Holbrook-Merritt American Legion Post gathered Aug. 7 to raise a flag recognizing those who were wounded in the defense of the country.

Mayor Ed Glaser attended. The mayor issued a proclamation declaring Aug. 7 as Purple Heart Day.

American Legion Post Commander Russell Wolfertz Jr. noted the Purple Heart is the oldest military award presented in the name of the President, first presented by President George Washington in 1782. The honor is bestowed on people who are both wounded or died from their wounds in defense of the nation.

Wolfertz spoke briefly as the Purple Heart flag was raised at the Veterans monument located at the intersection of Park and Main streets in Rockland. He said there are many local citizens who have earned that distinction.

The commander said he lost three local high school classmates during Vietnam, one within six months of graduation.

The flag was lowered at sunset.

The city will be holding the flag for safe keeping so that it can be raised each Purple Heart Day.

Rockland Mayor Ed Glaser prepares to hold the American Flag as American Legion members get ready to attach the Purple Heart flag to the flagpole rope. Stephen Betts