Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas on the Frontlines

Christmas is always hard on the troops. Let's remember them in prayer this Christmas season:

He’s covered the 1914 Christmas Truce and Washington’s Christmas Farewell, among other books. This year historian Stanley Weintraub travels back to 11 Days in December: Christmas at the Bulge, 1944. He recently talked to NRO Editor Kathryn Lopez about his latest and Christmas at war.Kathryn Jean Lopez: What was Christmas like for General Patton in 1944?Stanley Weintraub: Ordered to turn his tanks and troops of the Third Army around and race north to rescue the besieged crossroads town of Bastogne in southern Belgium, Patton faced the twin enemies of the Wehrmacht and the weather. Slow and sleet slowed down his movements and kept covering aircraft from the skies. A traditionally religious Episcopalian, Patton believed that an occasional personal appeal to the Almighty was useful. Just before Christmas, he went to a Roman Catholic chapel near his headquarters in Luxembourg, fell to his knees before the altar, and as if the Deity were a general senior to him, prayed, “Sir, This is Patton talking. . . . Who’s side are you on anyway?” He asked for four days of clearing weather, “to kill Germans.” His chaplain protested the abuse of prayer, but, Patton later wrote to his wife, Beatrice, “My prayer seems to be working still as we have had three days of good weather and our air [force] has been very active.” Bastogne was reached the day after Christmas. Patton prayed again, reporting that the “awful weather which I cursed so much” actually hindered the Germans more than the Americans. “That, Sir, was a brilliant military move, and I bow humbly to a supreme military genius.” Others thought that Patton was often off-the-wall, but as a fighting general he had no peer. Read More.

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