About this Image
About the Image: My father, Dal Estes, landed in the second wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day: June 6, 1944 as a member of the 467th Automatic Weapons Battallon. During the assault, he and a buddy (Jim Shelton) entered a bunker blocking access to a key exit up to the bluffs above the beach. They entered the bunker, found a couple of dead Germans, and my father took a Nazi flag and shoved it in his battle jacket. My dad then fought across France, Belgium, and Luxembourg before entering Germany. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was wounded there, receiving a Purple Heart. He later ran a Displaced Persons camp in Czechoslovakia before coming home.
In 1994, I had the honor of returning to Normandy, France with my father to return the flag he had captured exactly 50 years earlier. In an impressive ceremony, he presented it to the mayor of Saint-Laurent-Sur-Mer, France who later presented it to the Musee Omaha 6 Juin on Omaha Beach. That is where you can see it today, along with the story and photos of my father and the other brave members of the 467th.
My father was overwhelmed by the warmth of the French people and asked
"I wonder if I would get this kind of reception back home while wearing my uniform?" That is when he decided to establish a museum in his hometown of Pontiac IL - a place where veterans would be honored and a place where students could come to meet local veterans from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It took him 10 years, but his persistance paid off when the Livingston County War Museum/ Dal Estes Education Center opened in 2004.
Since our opening, we have been visited by over 25,000 people from all 50 states and 32 foreign countries on 6 continents. This is a hands-on, living history museum because our uniforms and many of our artifacts are out in the open - not behind glass. The best part is our volunteer staff made up of military veterans, including many combat veterans. We truly enjoy bringing student groups and veterans together to educate them about the cost of war and their stories of courage and the honor that all veterans deserve.
Our Blog: www.warmuseum.blogspot.com