Madden/Norcross Legislation Designating Route 42 As 'Route 42 Purple Heart Memorial Highway' Clears Committee

BY CHRIS DONNELLY- NJ Senate Democrats- JANUARY 30, 2012

TRENTON Legislation sponsored by Senators Fred H. Madden (D – Gloucester, Camden) and Donald Norcross (D – Camden, Gloucester) that would designate Route 42 as the “Route 42 Purple Heart Memorial Highway” today cleared the Senate Transportation Committee.

“We can never do enough to thank the courageous men and women who have served their country,” said Madden, who recently was named the New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars’ “Legislator of the Year.” “This designation is just one small measure of our gratitude for those who, in times of combat, displayed astounding bravery. We truly owe them a great debt.”

"The Purple Heart is the oldest honor still awarded to the brave men and women who are wounded in military service, or posthumously to those who have given their lives for our freedom," said Norcross. "In addition to this prestigious honor, it is important that we recognize and remember the sacrifices they made by taking action here at home. The Route 42 Purple Heart Memorial Highway serves to honor all of our military personnel - past, present and future - for their bravery, heroic sacrifice and service to our country."

The bill, S-578, would prohibit any public funds from being used to reflect the change in name. Instead, the Commissioner of the state Department of Transportation would solicit private donations for the purchase, production or building of any signs reflecting the change.

The Purple Heart is America’s oldest military decoration. General George Washington established the Purple Heart in 1782 to reward troops for “unusual gallantry.” The Purple Heart is awarded as a medal and a ribbon (worn on the left side of the uniform) according to the U.S. Army study guide. Currently, the Purple Heart is awarded to extraordinarily brave service members or given posthumously to the next of kin of those killed in action. This bill would honor all Purple Heart recipients--past, present, and future, for their heroic service.

The bill now heads to the Senate floor.