Interview: The granddaughter of a famous general talks about his legacy and her peace-promoting foundation on the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge.
She has been called by some Luxembourg’s adopted ambassador. Her name is Helen Patton, the granddaughter of General George S. Patton II. Much like her grandfather, she is following in the footsteps of historic generals.
General Patton led the US forces that liberated Luxembourg during the Second World War and defended the Grand Duchy during the Nazi regime’s counter-offensive, known as the Battle of the Bulge, in December 1944 and January 1945. The Fondation Pescatore (today a retirement home) once served as his army headquarters. After his death, in occupied Germany, General Patton was laid to rest--along with 5,075 other US soldiers--at the Luxembourg American Cemetery in Hamm.
Helen is a philanthropist who reaches out to those who have suffered from the experience of combat to help, regardless of race, religion or nationality. It’s gritty hard work mixed with a sprinkle of glitter.
She says that contrary to popular belief General Patton didn’t love war; he loved the art of war. Helen doesn’t love war either; she loves the art of peace. She accomplishes it through communication by using her talent as a performing artist to promote reconciliation.
The general was a soldier’s soldier; his granddaughter is a people person. Through her worldwide consortia she hosts performances, exhibits and films. She is also a book publisher.
Her family taught her to dedicate your life to something bigger than herself. As General Patton said: “Better to fight for something than live for nothing.” So she aims to engage people in an effort to help others follow their star.
Helen acknowledges it’s both a pleasure and burden to live the legacy of Patton. Having the family name comes with the expectation to be a good person--all the time. Her takeaway is summed up in one of the general’s famous quotes: “Be yourself because if you are not yourself, you are nobody.”