Gen. George S. Patton
was bogged down in his advance across Europe
due to miserable winter weather. The General called for his Chaplain
, James H. O'Neill, to find or draft a prayer for better weather (Patton was a devout Episcopalian). What follows is the original prayer, as the Chaplain could not find one that he thought would satisfy the General. O'Neill typed this on a 3 by 5 index card and presented it to Patton
"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. 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."
O'Neill then typed the following on the back of the card, because it was the Christmas
season and O'Neill predicted (correctly) that the General intended the prayer for circulation among the troops.
"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 blessings rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day. G.S. Patton, Jr, Lieutenant General, Commanding, Third United States Army."
Patton praised O'Neill and ordered 250,000 copies printed and distributed to the troops.