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Friday, December 4, 2009


Please send an email thanks to our military men and women around the world. Click on the orange buttons on the bottom to select the style of card and your message. Thank you from the veterans of the Livingston County War Museum in Pontiac IL and XEROX.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Our hearts are saddened with the loss of Neil Bach, co-founder of our museum along with Dal Estes, and a good friend to all.
This excellent article by Sheila Shelton appeared in the Pontiac Daily Leader on Monday, November 30.

"Neil Bach is being remembered as a strong, caring individual who really believed in working to make Pontiac the best community it could be. Bach, 88, died Thanksgiving Day and his funeral is scheduled for this Thursday at 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Pontiac.

Bach had a long banking career that started in 1949 at the Bank of Pontiac. He remained at the bank until his retirement. He served as president of Pontiac Bancorp from 1977 - 85 and as chairman of the Board of Directors from 1983 - 91.H. Wayne Taylor, president of the bank of Pontiac, said Bach always remained interested in how things were going at the bank. 'Even after his retirement he remained very interested in what the bank was doing and what was happening in the banking business', Taylor said. 'Neil was a very positive, very strong person and very possibly the most positive thinking person I've ever met. He fueled all of these attributes together into a strong support for the community'.

"Neil had so many insights into so many things about business and people and he shared those insights drawing on experience. He was very generous about sharing information and insights and this was all coupled with a wonderful sense of humor. He always maintained the ability to laugh at himself', Tahlor added.

Bach served on the Apollos Camp and Bennet Humiston trust from 1959 until 2006. He had also served on the Floyd and Alta Byrne Trust for many years until retiring from that the same year. In an interview with the Daily Leader in 2006 on the occasion of his retirement from the trusts, Bach talked about why he was making changes. 'Age is the reason I'm leaving. I am 85 years old. I would like to see someone new and more familiar with the business of Pontiac as it exists today serve on the boards of the trusts', said Bach.

Pontiac Realtor Louis Lyons, who served on the trusts with Bach, spoke Sunday about his remembrances of Bach. 'Neil was always just such a kind and honorable person. He was always concerned about the community and serving its best interests' said Lyons. 'Whenever there was a fund drive for a new building in Pontiac Neil was right out there ready to step forward and be counted. He had a great sense of humor and was never afraid to laugh at himself. He was a gentle, gentle, man, a true gentleman.

Bach served in the U.S. Army Air Force from 1942 - 45 where he was assigned to the China/Burma/India Theater. As an air crewmember, he flew 112 missions over "The Hump" (The Himalaya Mountains) and was awarded three battle stars, the Air Medal with cluster and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Veterans were people that Bach never forgot and during the past several years he had volunteered many hours at the Livingston County War Museum. Jack Murphy of Pontiac spoke about Bach and the role he played at the museum. 'Neil was one of the people most responsible for getting the museum off the ground. He worked to make it what it is today',said Murphy. 'He was very supportive of Pontiac and all the veterans from here and a joy to work with and call a friend'.

Betty Estes, whose late husband, Dal, was very involved in the formulation of the museum, spoke about Bach and her thoughts.'Neil was one of the most wonderful, giving, charitable persons I've ever known. He never judged people by what they had or the lack of what they had. I believe there are angels among us and I always felt Neil was one of them', said Estes."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

War Museum Float in Pontiac parade

Thanks to museum member, Ralph Messer, for manning the jeep float entitled "Letters from Home" in this years Pontiac Light-Up Parade. This is the second year that Ralph has helped represent our museum. Thanks to our treasurer, George Pouliot, for representing us this way for several years as well.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Highway Signs on I-55

The War Museum is one of four attractions featured on new highway signs at Exit 197. Thanks to Pontiac's Office of Tourism, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Bureau of Tourism. It is estimated that nearly 20,000 cars pass the sign each day on I-55 northbound. Photo courtesy of Pontiac Tourism.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Thanks to Jennifer Krueger and the other teachers from Pontiac Junior High School for planning a timely field trip just before Veterans Day this year. The students were well-prepared and asked some great questions. It was a pleasure to meet them and to show them around our museum. They know now that freedom isn't free as they heard the stories of our local veterans.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Veterans Day 2009 - What is a Veteran?

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.

Others may carry the evidence inside of them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem.

You can't tell a vet just by looking.

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.

He is the loudmouth whose frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel in Korea.

She is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Vietnam.

He is the former Prisoner of War who went away one person and came back another - or didn't come back at all.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He or she is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being - a person who offered some of life's most vital years in the service of our country, who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say THANK YOU. That's all most people need, and, in most cases it will mean more than any medals earned.

Two little words that mean a lot, THANK YOU.

Adapted from Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag."

From the Veterans of the Livingston County War Museum

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Fort Hood's Deceased

Lt. Col. Juanita Warman, 55, Havre de Grace MD
Maj. Libardo Caraveo, 52, Woodbridge VA
Cpt. John P. Gaffaney, 54, San Diego CA
Cpt. Russell Seager, 41, Racine WI
Staff Sgt. Justin Decrow, 32, Plymouth IN
Sgt. Amy Krueger, 29, Kiel WI
Spc. Jason Hunt, 22, Tillman OK
Spc. Frederick Greene, 29, Mountain City TN
PFC Aaron Nemelka, 19, West Jordan UT
PFC Michael Pearson, 22, Bolingbrook IL
PFC Kham Xiong, 23, St. Paul MN
Pvt. Francheska Velez, 21, Chicago IL
Michael G. Cahill, Cameron TX (civilian)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009




Jack Murphy - Pontiac IL. President of the Livingston County War Museum introduced the Vietnam War Conference panelists.


Kha Pham - Normal IL. Former Captain in the South Vietnamese Army and National Intelligence Police Officer. Escaped from Vietnam upon fall of Saigon in 1975.


Mike Kerber - Bloomington-Normal IL. U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division Artillery Vietnam.


Dick Leonard - Cornell IL. U.S. Army, 1st Air Cav door gunner


Mike McGraw - Pontiac IL. Mike spoke about his father, Jim McGraw, U.S. Army - who served two combat tours in Vietnam as a pilot.


Keith Lee - Mackinaw IL. U.S. Army Infantry - 4th Infantry Division and First Infantry Division Vietnam.


David Estes - Normal IL. U.S. Army Infantry - 25th and 101st Airborne Divisions Vietnam


Duane Currington - Pontiac IL. U.S. Army Vietnam, Military Police


Jim Franklin - Pontiac IL - U.S. Navy Vietnam, aircrewman/sensor and radio operator


George Paton - Wheaton IL. U.S. Army, 25th Division Vietnam, Medic.


Mick Mills - Bloomington IL - U.S. Marines Vietnam and Veterans Representative of the Illinois Department of Employment Security


Friday, September 4, 2009

Vietnam War Conference - September 19

The War Museum is proud to present the Vietnam War Conference on Saturday, September 19 from 9 am - 12:30 pm at the Pontiac City Hall. Several Vietnam veterans with many different experiences will speak and answer questions. There will be two panel discussions: 9:00 to 10:30 and 10:45 to 12:15. Each discussion will give time to meet and speak to the veterans informally, before they leave for a lunch in their honor. Guests are encouraged to walk across the street to visit the Livingston County War Museum/Dal Estes Education Center, featuring exhibits from World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Vietnam Conference is free and open to the public, as well as the Museum. We encourage Livingston County residents and their families to attend this Conference to show your support of these veterans.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Welcome to our July 2009 Newsletter! If you would like a personal copy mailed to your home quarterly, please become a member of our museum. Just fill out the form on page 8 of the newsletter and mail it to: Livingston County War Museum, 321 N. Main Street, Pontiac IL 61764. You will also receive invitations to free special events at the museum throughout the year.

Juan Ruiz Memorial Day 2009 Speech - Click to View

Juan Ruiz Speech - Part 2

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Welcome to the Walldogs and Summer Bash June 25 - 28

The War Museum will have many veterans on hand to welcome our guests to the Summer Bash Festival in Pontiac June 25 - 28.
Come see a hands-on, living history museum in action!

World War II Vets - TV interview at Museum

Several of our World War II vets were interviewed in March at the museum. This all day long project was filmed by Illinois Valley Television Productions and will be offered to the History Channel when completed. Each veteran spoke from 45 minutes to over an hour about their experiences in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Corps, and Marines during World War II. Each veteran will receive their own personal copy of their interview for their family thanks to Dan Kenny, Executive Producer, and the IVTV team. The veterans showed stamina during this long day of filming. Not surprising. They are World War II vets. Thanks, guys. You did a great job!

Our Museum Honors Veterans!

Flanagan-Cornell High School Visits

It was a pleasure to welcome Flanagan-Cornell High School history students and their teacher, Bev Hart, to our museum once again!