If you read the first story, you have to read the
second one. They are connected.
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
Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He
was his lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very
good! In fact, Eddie's 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, but also, Eddie got
special dividends. 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 no
object. 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.
One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision.
Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. 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
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
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 were speeding
their 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 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
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 and 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 Congressional
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
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.
Lighter Side Archive