Historical society receives flag that flew over US Capitol
PRESCOTT -- Growing up, David Bays didn't hear much about his father Everett's military service in World War II.
Except for one event.
On Dec. 17, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, 81 American soldiers were executed by members of the Kampfgruppe Peiper, a German combat unit, near Malmedy, a Belgian municipality.
"They're armed with binoculars and charts," Bays said of the American soldiers. "It was a tragedy."
Records state that, because the site had been a no man's land until the US response, it wasn't until January 1945 that US forces were able to reach the site and perform a criminal investigation.
David stated Everett was one of the first soldiers on site.
"It was a troubling scene," David said on how Everett remembered it.
With that in mind, the massacre has always been in the back of David's mind. The Prescott resident had purchased a 4-foot-by-6-foot U.S. flag and had it flown over the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 20, 2006, thanks to U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, in honor of those soldiers who lost their lives at Malmedy.
Seeing it fly once wasn't enough for Bays.
"I decided it was high time for the flag to fly again," he said. "I didn't have the heart to fly it and it was too big to fly at my house."
Bays contacted the local VFW about donating the flag. Upon hearing the story behind the flag, the VFW and the local American Legion in Prescott felt the flag should go to the Prescott Historical Society.
The donation was made during a public ceremony last week in which the historical society hosted a reception for all area military personnel and their families.
President Sally West said the flag will be on display at the historical society, located at Prescott's Welcome and Heritage Center (by the bell tower) at the Highway 10 bridge.