CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Veterans Day is right around the corner and there is a national effort underway to honor the 240th anniversary of the Purple Heart award.

This Veterans Day, the National Flag Foundation is teaming up with other groups across the country for a Light to Unite event.

They are encouraging people to light homes, businesses and other structures with purple lights to honor the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the 240th anniversary of the creation of the Badge of Military Merit, which is now the Purple Heart.

“George Washington created it as a way to boost morale and to really say ‘thank you’ especially to the enlisted soldiers at the time,” said retired U.S. Army Captain and West Virginian James McCormick. McCormick is a three-time Purple Heart recipient. He served 22 years in the United States Army and did two tours of combat in Iraq.

He just finished a term as National Commander for the Military Order of the Purple Heart USA.

“When you look at the medal itself you will see there is a little shield on it and that is the shield of the Washington family,” he explained. “It is very focused on our nation’s first president and its original intent. The only thing that has changed about it is that it is awarded solely to those who have been wounded in combat, in service to the country.”

He said this Veterans Day the goal is to have as many buildings as possible beaming with purple lights from dusk to dawn in a national symbol of unity.

“For me, somebody that has been to war and been wounded and been through all of that, and believe me it was not an easy experience, but for me to be able to see Americans just being civil and working with each other, for me that is the most important thing that we can accomplish here,” McCormick said.

To learn more about the Light to Unite event click here.