City of Sumter Celebrates Our Veterans and Honors Those Who Serve

As you approach major highway entrances to our community and ride around the City, you may notice signs designating Sumter as a Purple Heart City and County. Have you ever thought about what this honor means for active and retired veterans living in Sumter?

Established by George Washington during the Revolutionary War, the Purple Heart was America’s first award to recognize the common soldier for outstanding valor and merit. In Sumter, we recognized the impact of this award with the renaming of our local Purple Heart chapter to honor the late Major General George L. Mabry, Jr., a Sumter native. To this day, the General George L. Mabry, Jr. Chapter 817 Military Order of the Purple Heart meets at the Sumter Military Museum to fellowship and discuss veterans’ affairs in our community.

This Veterans Day, I hope you will join me in honoring those who have served in our military. Sumter is proud to be home to more than 16,000 veterans who add so much to Sumter by sharing their diverse talents, ideas, and experiences. They also work in our institutions and organization to help us enjoy a higher quality of life and move our community forward. As we pass the Purple Heart signs, let this serve as a reminder for us each day to remember and honor those who answered the call to serve America by serving in the armed forces. That is why we have Veterans Day.

The Purple Heart signs also bring to memory my late father, J.T. McElveen, and my late father-in-law, Burke Watson. Both were awarded the Purple Heart during World War II. My father was a bomber crew member who served in the 8th Air Force. Mr. Watson served as a Marine in the Pacific Theater.

I invite you to visit the Sumter Military Museum, located in the James Clyburn Transportation Center at 129 South Harvin St. in Sumter, to learn more about this remarkable testimony to all of Sumter's citizens who served. The museum will have special hours on Veteran’s Day, Wednesday, November 11 from 1 – 4 PM. Additionally, the museum is open weekly on Fridays from 9 AM – 12 PM and Sundays from 2 – 4 PM. You can also visit their website for more information at

Thank you.
Mayor Joe McElveen


Thank you Veterans