STORY NUMBER ONE
Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn't famous
for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in
everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.
Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was Capone's lawyer for a
To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the
money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well. For instance, he and
his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire
Chicago City block.
Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration
to the atrocity that went on around him. Eddie did have one soft spot,
however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young
son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was
And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to
teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he
was. Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he
couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.
He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al
"Scarface" Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some
semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The
Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. So, he testified. Within the
year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago
Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to
offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay.
Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion,
and a poem clipped from a magazine. The poem read:
"The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just
when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. Now is the only time you
own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time. For the clock may
soon be still."
STORY NUMBER TWO
World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander
Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier
Lexington in the South Pacific.
One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he
looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off
his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get
back to his ship.
His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he
dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.
As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned his
blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way toward the
The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but
defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to
save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There
was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.
Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation
of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in,
attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out
of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until
all his ammunition was finally spent.
Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip
a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible,
rendering them unfit to fly. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took
off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered
fighter limped back to the carrier.
Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return.
The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed
the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in
fact,destroyed five enemy aircraft.This took place on February 20, 1942 and
for that action Butch became the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II, and the first
Naval Aviator to win the Medal of Honor.
A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home
town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today,
O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great
man. So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some
thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of
Honor. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.
SO WHAT DO THESE TWO STORIES HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER?
Butch O'Hare was "Easy Eddie's" son.