Remembrance Bowl With Helen Patton & the 101st Airborne at Saint-Hilaire-Petiteville, Normandy on June 3rd 2019
The Remembrance Bowl 2019 American flag football game is an initiative spearheaded by Helen Patton, the granddaughter of General George S. Patton Jr. Over the last five years, Ms. Patton, who has received the Legion of Honor from the Republic of France for her years of service to veterans and the historical memory of Normandy and the regions along the liberty road, has been collaborating with the 101st Airborne Museum in Bastogne, Belgium. It was when doing research with museum curator Frank Ottelet during the launch of Patton Champagne that he presented her with an original 1944 invitation to the Champagne Bowl.
During the late fall of 1944, with Paris secure and ultimate victory inevitable, a football game reminiscent of America’s Superbowl was planned for Christmas Day. The 101st Airborne Division paratroopers, who had already seen hard fighting in Normandy and the Netherlands, were stationed in Champagne, near Reims, the place of General Eisenhower’s Allied headquarters. According to historian Stephen Ambrose, divisions held tryouts for the Champagne Bowl and practiced three hours a day. However, the game never took place, as the soldiers were recalled to duty in response to the German offensive in the Ardennes, and the 10,000 men of the 101st marched north in mid-December to the Battle of the Bulge.
To commemorate this event and honor the soldiers who liberated Europe, Ms. Patton reached out to WWII paratrooper veteran Vince Sparanza, to assist with contacting willing participants of the 101st Airborne for the revival of the 1944 Champagne Bowl. With the help of Col. Joe Escandon and many others of the 101st Airborne Division, the Remembrance Bowl was born.
Played as a trial run during 2018 D-Day activities in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, then again during the 2019 D-Day 75th Anniversary in Stade de Staine-Hilaire-Petitville with the assistance of the City of Carentan, it is fast becoming a traditional event in Normandy.
The Battle of Carentan was an engagement in World War II between airborne forces of the United States Army and the German Wehrmacht during the Battle of Normandy. The battle took place between 6 and 13 June 1944, on the approaches to and within the city of Carentan, France.