World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Butch O’Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier 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 mothership, he saw something that turned his blood cold. A squadron of Japanese Zeroes 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 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 American ships. 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 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 highest military honors.
And today, O’Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.
Story number two:
Easy Eddie was Capone’s lawyer and for a good reason. He was 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 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. Yes, Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.
|Capone and Easy Eddie|
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 had done.
|Easy Eddie's car rests against the trolley pole
at Ogden Avenue and Rockwell Street after
his murder on Nov. 8, 1939. (Chicago Tribune archive photo)
So, he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie’s life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago 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, Easy Eddie's real name is Edward Joseph O'Hare. And Butch O’Hare was Easy Eddie’s son.