The returned Purple Heart
NEW YORK – A Purple Heart medal that was found on the ground in Nyack has been traced to a World War II soldier. It was returned to the family of the late Bernard McNamara of the Bronx by Senator Charles Schumer on Sunday.
It is believed to have wound up in Rockland County because of family in Nanuet and was last seen when it was given to children in the family to play with.
Schumer’s staff had difficulty in determining the owner of the
medal, which was inscribed with “B.J. McNamara Dec. 9, 1943”
because there were thousands of McNamara’s in World War II and dozens
with the initials “B.J.”
It was finally determined it did, in fact, belong to Bernard McNamara of the Bronx and it was presented to his son, Brian; daughter, Catherine; grandson, Matthew; and granddaughter, Christine, in Nyack.
McNamara enlisted in the Army on December 2, 1942 and one year later he was injured by German artillery fire during a defensive stand at Monte Sammurco. He was later awarded the Purple Heart.
On January 22, 1944, he was reported as being at Stalag 3B near Fuerstenberg, Prussia, where over 4,000 American POWs were held. He was captured by Nazi Germany while serving in Italy and imprisoned for at least 372 days, according to the Red Cross.