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THE STORIES OF TWO BRAVE MEN.
STORY NUMBER ONE
Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic; far from it. He was notorious for entangling the city in everything from bootleg liquor and prostitution to murder.
Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was Capone's lawyer for one reason - he was rather good! In fact, Eddie's unique skill at legal manoeuvring kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.
To show his appreciation, Capone paid him extremely well. Not only was the amount of money enormous, but Eddie got preferential 'perks' also. For instance, he and his family had a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the modern conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire city block.
He lived the high-life of the mobsters and gave scant consideration to all the evils that went on around him.
The affluent lawyer did have one soft spot, though. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie made sure that his son had smart clothes, an automobile, and a superior education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.
And, in spite of his attachment to organised crime, Eddie tried to teach him right from wrong. He wanted his son to be a far better man than he was. But, in spite of all his wealth and influence, there were two things that the corrupt lawyer couldn't give his son: he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.
One day, Eddie made a difficult decision. He wanted to put right all the wrongs he had done.
He decided he'd go to the authorities and tell the truth about Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. In doing this, he knew he'd have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the resultant cost would be terrible. But he testified.
Within the year, Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lone Chicago street. But, in his death, he had bequeathed his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price that a man could pay. The cops removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem that he had snipped 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.
So 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 Edward 'Butch' O'Hare.
Butch was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.
One day, he and his squadron were sent out on a mission. While he was in mid-air, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to fill the tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete the mission and get back to his ship.
His senior flight leader told him to return to the carrier, so he reluctantly obeyed, dropped out of the formation and headed gloomily back to the fleet.
On his way to the mother ship he saw something that turned his blood cold... a squadron of Japanese aircraft was heading toward the American fleet!
His fellow fighters were away on a sortie, leaving the fleet defenseless.
He could not reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Neither could he warn the fleet of the approaching aerial danger. So he decided there was only one thing to do. He'd got to somehow divert them...
Ignoring his personal safety, he accelerated and dived into the formation of Japanese planes.
Wing-mounted machine-guns blazed as he charged in, boldly attacking one enemy plane after another.
Butch wove elusively in and out of the now broken formation, firing at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent.
Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dived at the planes, trying to clip a wing or a tail in hopes of damaging as many as possible, leaving them unfit to fly.
Finally the exasperated Japanese planes took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his plane limped back to the ship.
Upon landing, he related the whole event. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale too. It showed the extent of Butch's attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.
For this action, Butch became the Navy's first Ace of WWII, the first Naval Aviator to win the Medal of Honour.
A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat, aged only twenty-nine.
His home town could not allow the memory of this WWII hero to die and today O'Hare Airport in Chicago is so titled in dedication to the courage of this good man.
SO WHAT DO THESE TWO STORIES HAVE IN COMMON?
Butch O'Hare was "Easy Eddie's" son.