His name was Butch O'Hare, one of the heroes of World War II. 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 the 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, he saw something that turned his blood cold. A squadron of enemy fighters was speeding its way toward the American fleet. Since all the American fighters were gone, 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 the enemy planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber bullets blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised plane after another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until finally all of his ammunition was spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to at least clip off a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as he could, rendering them unfit to fly. He was desperate to do anything he could to keep them from reaching the American ships.
Finally, the exasperated enemy squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon his return he checked in and told his amazing story. The film from the camera mounted on the wing 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. Today, O'Hare airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.
Back in the 1920's there lived a man named Easy Eddie. At that time, Al Capone virtually owned the city. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. His exploits were anything praiseworthy. He was however notorious for bootlegged liquor, prostitution and murder. Easy Eddie was Al 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, but Eddie also 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 city block. Yes, Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocities 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 the best of everything--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 his son right from wrong. 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. A good example and a good name.
One day Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Offering his son a good name was far more important than all the riches. He had to rectify all of the wrong that he had done. He would go top authorities and tell them the truth about Al Capone. He would try to 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. But he wanted to be a good example, and he wanted his son to have a good name. So he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago street.
By the way, Easy Eddie's son was named Butch O'Hare.
(From a sermon by Rich Anderson, How Important Is Your Name? 2/18/2011)
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