World War II produced many heroes. One such man was
He was a fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier
in the SouthPacific.
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 mothership, he saw
something that turned
his blood cold. A squadron of Japanese Zeroes were
way toward the American fleet. 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
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
weaved in and out of the now broken formation and
fired at as many planes as
possible until finally all his ammunition was spent.
Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the
Zeroes, trying to
at least clip off a wing or tail, in hopes of damaging
as many enemy
planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly. He
was desperate to
do anything he could to keep them from reaching the
Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in
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 camera mounted on his
plane told the tale.
It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to
protect his fleet. He
was recognized as a hero and given one of the nation's
And today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in
tribute to the courage
of this great man.
Story number two:
Some years earlier there was a man in Chicago called
At that time, Al Capone virtually owned the city.
Capone wasn't famous
for anything heroic. His exploits were anything but
was, however, notorious for enmeshing the city of
Chicago in everything
from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.
Easy Eddie was Capone's lawyer and for a good reason.
very good! In fact, his skill at legal maneuvering
kept Big Al out of
jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone
paid him very
well. Not only was the money big; Eddie got special
For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in
live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day.
The estate was so
large that it filled an entire Chicago city block.
Yes, Eddie lived the
high life of the Chicago mob and gave little
consideration to the
atrocity that went on around him.
Eddy did have one soft spot, however. He had a son
loved dearly. Eddy saw to it that his young son had
the best of
everything; clothes, cars, and a good education.
withheld. Price was no object. And, despite his
organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right
Yes, Eddie tried to teach his son to rise above his
own sordid life. He wanted him to be a better man than
he was. Yet,
with all his wealth and influence, there were two
things that Eddie
couldn't give his son. Two things that Eddie
sacrificed to the Capone
mob that he could not pass on to his beloved son: a
good name and
a good example.
One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision.
Offering his son a good name was far more important
than all the
riches he could lavish on him. He had to rectify all
the wrong that he
He would go to the authorities and tell the truth
Al Capone. He would try to clean up his tarnished name
his son some semblance of integrity. To do this he
against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be
more than anything, he wanted to be an example to his
He wanted to do his best to make restoration and
a good name to leave his son.
So, he testified. Within the year,
Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a
street. He had given his son the greatest gift he had
to offer at
the greatest price he would ever pay.
I know what you're thinking. What do these two stories
have to do with
one another? Well, you see, Butch O'Hare was Easy