They touted his war record as a non-commissioned officer in Vietnam, where he earned a Purple Heart.
Finally, without an Act of Terror designation, those wounded in defense of our nation will not receive a Purple Heart.
The case for Hagel is that he is a combat veteran who won a Purple Heart while serving in Vietnam.
A Vietnam Purple Heart, he would in retrospect have engaged with the Viet Cong.
His father, James, Sr., received a Purple Heart during World War II and worked as a mason and then as a high-school custodian.
He received a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars for his service in World War II.
The son of a maid, he went to work at age 8, won a Purple Heart in Korea, and rose through the Harlem Democratic machine.
But the Purple Heart has been denied the soldiers who were killed or wounded at Fort Hood.
No one ever seeks a Purple Heart medal, but it remains the most distinctive of American military medals and symbols.
Some wood-paths are found sprinkled with dog-violets, saxifrage, and with Purple Heart's-ease.