Appreciation In Memoriam, William McNamara (1921-2016)
William McNamara (pictured left) touched the lives of family, friends,
comrades and community in unique and
generous ways. Named a Living Legend of Alexandria in 2016, together with his fellow WWII Veteran Warden Foley, he is recognized as a leader of American Legion Post #24, described by historian Monta Lee Dakin (former Director of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum1987-1996) as “one of the important preservation groups in Alexandria’s emerging preservation movement.” McNamara and Foley led those veterans whose vision, perseverance and accomplishment gave the gift of Gadsby’s Tavern and the adjacent City Hotel buildings to the citizens of Alexandria. Joe Shumard, Alexandria Legend and coordinator of the George Washington Parade, cites McNamara’s “selflessness in service to the city” in preservation of the landmark “which has become the cornerstone of Historic Alexandria.”
McNamara’s legacy of service includes documenting the D-Day invasion and the Allies’ progress as a reporter for Stars and Stripes, for which he later served as publisher. Today in Alexandria, the Alexandria Caen Sister Cities Committee sponsors public programs on the history and culture of Normandy and the landing beaches which the soldier covered in summer, 1944. McNamara’s courage and generosity will invigorate Alexandria’s culture for many generations to come.
William McNamara died June 4 at the age of 95.
–By Kathleen Baker