The Purple Heart is the oldest, continuously awarded honor in our military. The successor to the Badge of Military Merit created by George Washington, it was created to honor veterans injured in WWI, and it’s been awarded to men and women in uniform who have suffered serious injuries in battle since 1917.
It’s a recognition of sacrifice in service of our country, NOT a participation trophy or a winning hand at poker. “Congratulations” is about the most inappropriate thing anyone can say to someone who’s just received it. ‘Thank you’ would have sufficed.