Search This Blog

Monday, June 6, 2011

Video: Dal Estes recounts D-Day on Omaha Beach

D-Day: June 6, 1944

Today on the 67th Anniversary of D-Day, we honor and remember America's sons of 1944 who landed in Normandy, France to begin the liberation of Europe after 5 long years of Nazi occupation. Our founder, Dal Estes, landed in the second wave on Omaha Beach,"Bloody Omaha", and returned 50 years later to return a flag captured from a German bunker. He proudly wore his uniform every day in Normandy, and from the respect and love he received from the local people, he was inspired to found our museum almost seven years ago to honor our current military personnel as well as our veterans. From that dream, we have been visited by Americans from every state and people from 50 countries as well as countless school field trips. Thanks to our volunteers, members and supporters are we expand our reach and influence in Central Illinois.

This 13 minute video is hosted on the website and includes a recounting by ex-Sgt Dal Estes of his landing on D-Day. It is dedicated to all those who have served or are currently serving our country around the world.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Au Revoir et Bonne Route!

We had the pleasure of meeting six young French from Normandy, Western France recently. We wish them good roads, great weather, and a wonderful stay in the United States.
Au revoir a Lionel, Tony, Raynald, Muriel, Claire, et Alberic!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Teacher Workshop - June 20

The Livingston County War Museum is proud to announce that it will host a Teacher Workshop entitled "In Our Own Backyard: Community Resources That Work" on Monday, June 20 from 8:15 - 9:445 am.
Sponsored by Regional Office of Education #17 in Bloomington-Normal IL, 30 teachers from McLean and Livingston County will travel by bus to learn about museum resources available for their classrooms in the fall. All of our veterans, from World War II to the present, will be on hand to help explain how students benefit when they interact with them on fieldtrips surrounded by hands-on exhibits of America at war. We extend a special welcome to all workshop teachers and look forward to collaborations with their schools. For further information, phone us at (815) 842-0301 or email us at

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day 2011 - From Our Veterans

We are now a Blue Star Museum

Our museum has joined 49 other museums in Illinois and over 1000 nationally to become a "Blue Star Museum". This program, sponsored by the National Endowment for The Humanities, promotes free visits to museums to our active duty military personnel and their families. Although we do not charge admission to the public (but like donations!), this partnership allows us more contact and publicity with our military families. We are here to honor them and all veterans everyday!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Flanagan-Cornell High School Fieldtrip

Greeting by Museum President, Jack Murphy

Bev Hart, Social Studies teacher, looks over museum with Roger Kutzner.

Students enjoy learning history at our museum.

Jack Murphy, Museum President, talking about history of museum.

This student took several minutes to read a fascinating, historic letter describing the brave death during World War II
of an Australian soldier, Alex Bell. It was written by a friend in a Japanese prisoner of war camp to Mrs. Bell describing her son's bravery in the face of starvation and death. Mystery: We received this letter without any documentation of its origin or donor. 

Jack Murphy describes bravery of local soldiers. 
Thanks to Bev Hart,  Social Studies teacher, Flanagan-Cornell HS students returned for their annual fieldtrip to encounter history at our museum. Our veterans enjoyed meeting them and sharing their experiences!

Pontiac High School history classes visit

Willis Harms talks about his Army experiences in World War II.
Bill Hall recounts his Marine days in the Pacific in World War II. 
Pontiac Township High School history class
Eric Sweetwood, PTHS Social Studies chair,  presents "Blue Beetle" comic to Jack Murphy (Museum President). Megan Bozarth (Teacher) presented a check for Museum Life Membership to David Estes (Education Director).
Gerry Bull answers questions about his service as a Marine in Vietnam.
Jack Murphy, Museum President, helps put a parachute on PTHS student.

Rollie Gagnon, Navy veteran,  in animated conversation with PTHS students.

Gerry Bull points out various weapons. 
Eight Pontiac High School history classes, led by teachers Eric Sweetwood, Megan Bozarth, and Stephen Kraft visited our museum again this year. Great interaction and learning between these enthusiastic students of history and our military veterans!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vets Seminar (VIBES) At City Hall

The first Pontiac VIBES Seminar will be held Friday, March 11 from 2 - 4 pm at the Pontiac City Hall across from the War Museum. VIBES stands for Veterans Information Benefits and Employment Seminar. This is a free opportunity for all veterans, family members or vet employers to receive information concerning any and all benefits or employer responsibilities. This seminar will be held on the second Friday of every month. There is no cost or reservation needed to attend. For more information contact Mick Mills,Veterans Rep, at 309-827-6237 extension 361.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Museum Vets Win 2011 Pontiac Volunteer Award

20 volunteers from our museum were named 2011 Volunteers of the Year by the Pontiac Area Chamber of Commerce.  "This group of volunteers has done so much toward preserving our history, sharing with others and educating. They are what makes Pontiac work," said Cheri Lambert, executive director of the Chamber. Our volunteers will be honored at the Chamber of Commerce 94th Annual Banquet at the Pontiac Elks Lodge on Thursday evening, March 10. In the photo, Cheri Lambert discusses the award with George Pouliot, museum treasurer, and Jack Murphy, museum president.

Friday, February 25, 2011

"Not Forgotten" Statue New to Museum

You are invited to see the new woodcarved statue "Not Forgotten" in our museum on loan from reknowned Bloomington Il artist Rick Harney. Rick is the sculptor of the bronze Abraham Lincoln statue on Pontiac's downtown Courthouse Square and also has done a seated Lincoln on the grounds of the McLean County Museum of History.

We have placed the "Not Forgotten" woodcarving in a prominent and logical position in our museum.

It is in the center of our main room, gazing at the stories, uniforms and medals of two soldiers of World War II from our area. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Teaching World History in a Global Society"

In January, our museum participated in a conference entitled "Teaching World History in a Global Society" held at the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington IL. It was attended by 120 Central Illinois history teachers.  War Museum members presented two sessions: Korea and Vietnam
(Jack Murphy and David Estes) and Desert Storm (Hugh Roop of the Pontiac police and Charlie Summers of the Illinois State University police). We thank the McLean County Museum for their invitation again this year.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Today is the 110th birthday of America's last remaining World War I veteran, Mr. Frank W. Buckles. He still considers it his duty to represent his fellow soldiers from what was then called the Great War. He enlisted in the Army when he was 21 and drove ambulances in England and France and guarded German prisoners.  Mr. Buckles was a prisoner himself of the Japanese for three years during World War II in the Philippines. There are only two other remaining World War I vets in the world - both in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Buckles lives at Gap View Farm in Charles Town, West Virginia. When asked about the secret of his long life, he replied: "Hope...When you start to die, don't."

We send our best wishes and utmost respect today to our last remaining doughboy of World War I.
- The Veterans and Members of the Livingston County War Museum/Dal Estes Education Center
   in Pontiac Illinois.

Please view the short video below.

VOA Report on Frank Buckles: Last Surviving WWI Veteran