Remembrance Bowl



During WWII, in the late Fall of 1944, with Paris secure and ultimate victory inevitable, a football game was organized 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. The divisions held tryouts, formed teams, practiced several hours a day, printed programs for what they named the Champagne Bowl, and prepared for the big game to take place on December 25, 1944. When the Battle of the Bulge broke out, the soldiers had to drop everything and march to the Ardennes, abandoning what would become known as The Game That Never Happened.

However, on Christmas Day, the 101st Airborne was called to the Ardennes to help in what would become known as the Battle of the Bulge. The Champagne Bowl, now abandoned, became known as The Game That Never Happened.

In May of 2018, Patton Legacy Sports ™ was formed to honor General George S. Patton’s Olympic and athletic legacy. Together with his granddaughter Helen Patton, the 101st Airborne, the 101st Airborne Museum in Bastogne, and the town of Sainte-Mere-Eglise, a football game was added to the D-Day Commemorations.


In Normandy as a D-Day Tradition of Remembrance

In 2018, Helen Ayer Patton (granddaughter of General George S. Patton, Jr.) decided that it was time The Game That Never Happened finally took place. Working diligently with military leaders and personnel of the 101st Airborne, Michelle Strauss of the newly formed Patton Legacy Sports ™, and the Mayor of Sainte-Mere-Eglise at the time, Jean Quetier, Helen was able to succeed and the newly named Remembrance Bowl, took place in Normandy as part of the D-Day Commemorations activities in June 2018.

Now The Game That Never Happened has become a tradition with active-duty soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division and the 82nd Airborne Divisions during their attendance at the Normandy (FR) D-Day Commemorations in June each year. Together they celebrate the rare connection the United States Military has had with France in this region since WWII. On the field in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, they pursue camaraderie and a good dose of competition with their fellow Airborne Division Soldiers.

This tradition of sports bringing people together in the field of competition creates a unity that is different from other events held during this special week every year. This and other events during the D-Day Commemorations are a living symbol of reconciliation. They are “about repairing history somehow and reconnecting the threads of memory that have been broken or frayed over the years.” (Helen Patton)

In the inaugural game on June 6, 2022, between the two Airborne Divisions, the Commanding Generals joined their soldiers on the field.

MG Christopher C. LaNeve

82nd Airborne Div.


LTG Christopher T. Donahue

XVIII Airborne Corps

MG Joseph P. McGee

101st Airborne Div

The Remembrance Project

The Remembrance Project is a Patton Legacy Sports ™ original concept. Introducing sport to bring Americans together in support of our military and our veterans. Patton Legacy Sports ™ recognizes improvement in communication and understanding is achievable through sport. It is a proven method that accelerates success when inviting communities to participate. In collaboration with Patton Legacy Sports ™, The Patton Foundation, Operation Democracy, and the Amis des Vétérans Américains En Normandie (AVA France), Locust Valley Central School District (Long Island NY) is building a strong educational curriculum into this project to offer students a wider perspective. It begins with the K-12 age group and is expandable to higher education.

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