By Art Fine,
Every Cornellian understands the value of a prayer for good weather when driving at Christmas time. This prayer for good weather also has great significance. For inspiration, one of our alumni carries a card in his pocket with this prayer written on the front and the Christmas wish written on the back.
On December 8, 1944, General George Patton called Chaplain James H. O’Neil and said, “This is General Patton; do you have a good prayer for weather? We must do something about those rains if we are to win the war.” The Chaplain wrote an original prayer:
Almighty and most merciful Father, 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. Harken to us as soldiers who call 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.
The Chaplain also wrote a Christmas wish for the men.
To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I wish a Merry Christmas. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory. May God’s blessing rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day.
G. S. Patton, Jr.
Commanding, Third United Sates Army”
Patton expressed his thoughts to the Chaplain, “There are three ways that men get what they want; by planning, by working, and by Praying….Have 250,000 copies printed and see to it that every man in the Third Army gets one.” The cards got to the men on December 12-14. On December 20, the rains stopped, the 101st Airborne could fly, and they crushed the German advancement on the Western Front.
The Bear prays that you also have fair weather as you drive to visit family and friends.