101st Airborne plays football postponed 74 years ago by Battle of the Bulge

 
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101st Airborne plays football postponed 74 years ago by Battle of the Bulge

Kind of a neat story here:

A calm fell over the Champagne region of France in the late fall of 1944, leading many Allied forces to believe in the possibility of WWII nearing its end. To celebrate, Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division planned to share with their French ally one of the U.S.' greatest pastimes: American football.

Little did the troops know a storm was brewing in the densely forested Ardennes region of France that would catapult 10,000 men into the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during WWII…or the Battle of the Bulge.

As war raged on from December 1944 through January 1945, the game, dubbed the Champagne Bowl, would become a distant memory until Helen Patton, the granddaughter of the late Gen. George S. Patton, recently learned of the game that never happened 74 years ago. 

At long last the game was held:

“Who knows how many of those guys ever made it home, let alone by Christmas, and you know what that Christmas was like,” Helen Patton, granddaughter of Gen. George S. Patton, said. “So I thought: ‘What about playing the game that never happened? Why don’t we play it for them?’ It’s a new way to commemorate; it’s a way to turn the page of history. We can do this in their stead.”

Patton came up with the idea while speaking with a historian who mentioned the never-played game at the 101st Airborne Division Museum in Bastogne, Belgium last year.

Re-dubbing the game the “Remembrance Bowl” instead of the original “Champagne Bowl” – named after the region where the 101st was then stationed - she began organizing the game, helped by staff at the two 101st museums in Bastogne and Saint Mere-Eglise, as well as the mayor of the small French town.

Soldiers of the 101st were already planning to be in Normandy over the D-Day anniversary celebrations and jumped at the chance to honor their WWII counterparts.

Good on the 101st guys for paying tribute to their forebears.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.