On Christmas Eve, decades ago, an active duty officer of the Uniformed Division of U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division placed the official ornament of The White House Gift Shop on the White House Blue Room Christmas Tree. Now, three-quarters of a century later, The White House Gift Shop annual ornaments are collected, gifted, traded, and prized globally. Our earliest ornament was made in 1946 under the administration of President Truman. Ornament years available now include 1991 - 2016 with the lost years from 1946 - 1990 in limited edition restoration now for 2017 which will make The White House Gift Shop, Est. 1946 official collection continuous for 70+ years!
Each Year the Only Original and Official White House Gift Shop, Est. 1946 by Permanent Presidential Memorandum and Members of Secret Service Uniformed Division Creates Two Ornaments that Depict through Historical Presidential Actions the Powers of the President of the United States of Significance to all Americans and to American History.
The 2016 George Washington Commemorative: Liberation of Boston & Order of the Purple Heart
Power of the President as Commander in Chief
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WASHINGTON'S LIBERATION OF BOSTON ON MARCH 17, 1776 and
WASHINGTON'S ORDER OF THE PURPLE HEART
EXCERPT OF WASHINGTON'S ORDER OF THE BADGE OF MERIT GOLD ENGRAVED ON REVERSE OF ORNAMENT
Washington's Liberation of Boston is Visible in Background of the Painting Commissioned by John Hancock
Historical Background to this Year's Commemorative Ornament and Display: The siege of Boston began on April 19, 1775, continued until March 17, 1776, and was the opening phase of the American Revolutionary War. In March 1776, General George Washington liberated Boston — shown in the background of the portrait, on-center, and a key theme of the 2016 ornament confluent with Washington's General Order of the Badge of Military Merit now known as the Order of the Purple Heart.
The design by Giannini of this year’s deeply symbolic American ornament features a motif from a White House mirror, an image of the painting of Washington commissioned by John Hancock then president of the Continental Congress. The painting depicts Washington’s liberation of Boston in 1776 (visible in the background). On the perimeter are the seals of the five active branches of military service, Washington's "Badge of Military Merit" now known as the Order of the Purple Heart, and an elegant border based on a mirror within the White House. Thus, the 2016 White House annual display and ornament represents Washington as General of the Continental Army, the origin of the Order of the Purple Heart in the Washington's creation of the Badge of Military Merit, Washington's liberation of Boston during the Revolutionary War in America's fight for independence, and the historical relationship of all five branches of military service to Washington. Bringing all these seemingly disparate symbols, themes, and moments in history into one commemorative design posed significant design challenges. We hope you will enjoy for many years to come this unique and one of a kind, limited edition, official ornament of the White House Gift Shop, Est. 1946 now in its 70th anniversary year and created in its earliest form by permanent presidential memorandum.
On August 7,1782, Newburgh, New York, General George Washington, Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, in his general orders announced the "Badge for Military Merit" comprised of a heart-shaped decoration of purple silk, edged with silver binding and stitched with the word Merit in silver upon its face. Washington's "Purple Heart" was awarded to only three soldiers for "singularly meritorious action." Moreover, the wearer of the badge was permitted to pass guards and sentinels "without challenge." Following the Revolutionary War, Washington's purple heart was largely forgotten and its official registry, "The Book of Merit" was lost.
In 1927, General Summerall, Army Chief of Staff, submitted an unsuccessful draft bill to Congress to revive the Merit Badge. General Douglas MacArthur, however, took the cause to reinstate the medal for the bicentennial of George Washington's 200th birthday with success: On February 22, 1932, the U.S. War Department created the "Order of the Purple Heart" with new features including a bust of Washington and his coat of arms.
The Order of the Purple Heart with its unique provenance is the oldest decoration for military merit and is awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who have been killed, wounded in action against an enemy, or who have suffered maltreatment as prisoners of war.
100% handcrafted in the USA by the official White House ornament makers, emblems of all five service branches, an image of Washington's original Badge of Merit, an image of a painting of Washington commissioned by John Hancock (with the liberation of Boston visible in background) when he was Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, hand over his heart, full color perfectly baked enamels,elegant frame and border based on White House interior and mirror designs, a history card, purple and gold embossed gift box, engraved excerpt on reverse from Washington's original General Order creating the Badge of Military Merit, and completely finished in 24-karat gold on nickel plated premium brass for timeless display, collection value, gift giving, and heirloom traditions. Giannini design. Approximately 3.4" x 3"
Measures approximately 3.4" x 3".