"General George Patton"
Thank you I.T., and good morning gentlemen.
This morning I have a short story I'd
like to share with you.
ln December 1944, American soldiers
were fighting desperately against the last great German
offensive of World War II, the Battle of the Bulge.
Men were dying in large numbers. The counterattack had
bogged down in mud and rain. Planes could not fly because
of low clouds. General George Patton, commander of the
Third Army, called his chaplain into his headquarters,
and the two men had the following exchange:
Patton began by addressing the Chaplain:
I want you to publish a prayer for good weather. I'm
tired of these soldiers having to fight mud and floods
as well as Germans. See if we can't get God to work
on our side.
Chaplain James O'Neill: May I say, General,
that it usually isn't a customary thing among men of
my profession to pray for clear weather to kill fellow
Patton: Chaplain, are you teaching me
theology or are you the Chaplain of the Third Army?
I want a prayer.
O'Neill: Yes, sir.
The prayer was printed on a card and
distributed to every soldier of the Third Army. It read:
Almighty and most merciful God, we humbly
beseech thee, of thy great goodness, to restrain these
immoderate rains with which we have had to contend.
Grant us fair weather for battle. Graciously hearken
to us as soldiers who call upon thee that, armed with
thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and
crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies,
and establish thy justice among men and nations. Amen.
An editor's footnote in Patton's memoirs
tells what happened next:
"The day after the prayer was issued,
the weather cleared and remained perfect for about six
days. Enough to allow the Allies to break the backbone
of the German offensive and turn a temporary setback
for the Allies into a crushing defeat for the enemy."
Regardless of what you think of President
Bush’s decision to attack Iraq, the fact is that
we have a couple of hundred thousand young American
men and women in uniform, in harm’s way, and they
deserve our prayers. I pray for them every day, and
I would ask you to do the same.
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