published Monday, November 28th, 2011

Gen. George S. Patton’s grandson to mail cards from Fort Oglethorpe museum


by Andy Johns
  • photo
    The 6th Cavalry Museum Christmas card for 2011.
    Contributed image

6th Cavalry Museum Christmas Card Prices


• One card: $5

• 15 cards: $20

• 25 cards: $30

• 50 cards: $40

• 100 cards: $70

To order cards, call 706-861-2860.

FORT OGLETHORPE — The 6th Cavalry Museum’s Christmas card, featuring a Christmas message from Gen. George S. Patton, has made it all the way to the general’s grandson.

George Patton Waters said the card is a “great honor to the Patton family” and he plans to send out a few dozen to his close friends this year.

“With every good wish to each of you for a very Happy Christmas,” the card states, an excerpt from the general’s seasonal greetings to his chaplains dated Dec. 9, 1944, just before the Battle of the Bulge.

The card features a holly-adorned excerpt from the letter on one side, an image of a stoic Gen. Patton and another quote on the inside and an explanation of the letter’s context on the rear panel.

One panel of this year’s card includes part of Patton’s letter to the 3rd Army’s 500 chaplains, instructing their troops to get help from a higher power.

“Urge all of your men to pray, not alone in church, but everywhere,” Patton wrote. “Pray when driving. Pray when fighting. Pray alone. Pray with others. Pray by night and pray by day.”

Waters, who lives in South Carolina, said the card shows a softer side of his grandfather, who was known for his hardline demands of officers and his powerful use of profanity.

“He had a very strong faith,” he said. “He felt there was a higher power and he would turn to it.”

Museum director Chris McKeever said the message still applies today.

“I just thought that was a very touching message, whether it was 1944 or 2011,” she said. “It does not hurt to remind people that God is out there and we need to ask for his help.”

And, Waters said, despite his grandfather’s gruff persona, he likely meant what he said.

“He sincerely wanted his men to have a good Christmas,” he said.

Last year as a fundraiser, the museum printed 500 Christmas cards with the famous “Patton’s Prayer” and a holiday greeting. Orders surged and, after additional printings, McKeever sold all 4,000 cards that were printed. The museum has printed 2,000 this year with the option to double that number.

Chattanooga resident Betty Ledbetter said she ordered 15 cards last year but quickly ran out. Her husband, Arlos, a Navy veteran of the Korean War, sent the cards to all his military friends.

“That wasn’t enough, so we went back and got another set,” she said. “I know we’ll do at least 30 this year.”

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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