Send holiday greetings to family and friends in style this year with the 6th Cavalry Museum's Patton Prayer Christmas Card. Each year since 2010, the 6th Cavalry Museum has offered a special holiday card with General George Patton's Christmas Prayer and this year is no exception. The cover of the 2017 card, painted by local north Georgia artist Durinda Cheek, features a beautiful watercolor of Patton and his dog Willie in a Jeep. These are one-of-a-kind cards that can only be found at the 6th Cavalry Museum.
The History of the Patton Prayer
The original "Patton Prayer," written by Patton's chief of chaplains Col. (Monsignor) James H. O'Neill, was delivered in December 1944 to the American troops fighting during one of the worst blizzards in European history. One of the 250,000 cards delivered to troops containing the prayer on one side and a Christmas greeting from Patton on the other side is in the museum's permanent collection.
The Germans had taken advantage of the weather to launch a surprise counterattack (known as the Battle of the Bulge). The 101st Airborne and elements of the 10th Armored held Bastogne and needed to be relieved before they ran out of supplies and were overrun. The Patton Prayer asks that the Lord "restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend."
The weather unexpectedly cleared, allowing resumption of close air support and an air-dropped resupply of the besieged units at Bastogne. Patton's Third Army broke through the German counteroffensive ten days later, prompting O'Neill to say, "General Patton prayed for fair weather for battle. He got it."
Inspiration of the artist
Local artist Durinda Cheek painted this year's card cover. Cheek is the daughter of Harry E. Copeland, one of the founding members of the 6th Cavalry Museum. This is the third Patton card Cheek has painted for the museum and is one of the many ways in which she supports the museum. "I love the meaning behind the card with Gen Patton's prayer for the troops," said Cheek.
"For this year's Christmas card, I had the idea of General Patton standing in his jeep looking out at what's ahead. One day that I was in the museum, I spoke with a gentleman who had inquired about the Patton Cards and told him about the idea of Gen Patton in the jeep. He said that Patton was always with his dog, Willie. That gave me the idea of placing his dog riding in the jeep with him. Of course I used old national archive photographs and took some liberties with them for the design."
Cards are available online at www.6thcavalrymuseum.org or by calling the museum at 706-861-2860. All proceeds from cards sales support the operation and programming of the 6th Cavalry Museum.