ANNVILLE, Pa. (WENY) -- Governor Wolf has officially designated Pennsylvania as a Purple Heart State, citing his extreme gratitude to the more than 91,000 Pennsylvanians either killed or wounded in war since 1917. Starting today, when Purple Heart Day is celebrated nationally, Pennsylvania will honor these men and women every August 7.

"Through our nation's history, Pennsylvanians have selflessly fought to preserve our freedom and protect our borders," the governor said. "Most have safely come home, while others have either fallen or were wounded. This is an elite group of heroes who deserves their own special day of recognition where we can all honor their bravery and incredible sacrifice."

The Purple Heart is given to U.S. military members who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration. The Purple Heart is different from most military awards and decorations as individuals are not “recommended” for the decoration, but rather are entitled to receiving the medal.

About 1.8 million American service members have received the Purple Heart.