Glendale "Bugler" - Veterans Day

Bugler: Veterans Day 11/13/01

On this day after Veterans Day, Glendale salutes all our veterans - not just one day but every day of the year! Here's a story for Veterans Day:

During the course of World War II, many people gained fame in one way or another. One man was Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. After his squadron was assigned to fly a particular mission, he realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. Since he would not have enough fuel to complete the mission, his flight leader told him to leave formation and return.

As he was returning to the mothership, he could see a squadron of Japanese Zeroes heading toward the fleet to attack. With all the fighter planes gone, the fleet was almost defenseless. His was the only opportunity to distract and divert them. Single-handedly, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes and attacked them. American fighter planes were rigged with cameras so pilots could learn more about the terrain and enemy maneuvers. Butch dove at the Zeroes and shot until all his ammunition was gone, then he tried to clip off a wing or tail or anything that would make the enemy planes unfit to fly. He did anything he could to keep them from reaching American ships. Finally, the Japanese squadron took off in another direction, and Butch O'Hare and his fighter, both badly shot up, limped back to the carrier.

He told his story, but not until the film from his plane's camera was developed, did his buddies realize the extent to which he really went to protect his fleet. He was recognized as a hero, given one of the nation's highest military honors, and O'Hare Airport in Chicago was named after him.

But that's only half the story.

Prior to this time, in Chicago, there was a man called Easy Eddie, who worked for the gangster, Al Capone. Capone was notorious for the murders he'd committed. Easy Eddie was Capone's lawyer, and he was very good. In fact, because of his skill, he was able to keep Al Capone out of jail. To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well -- he earned big money with extras, like a Chicago residence that filled an entire city block, live-in help, and every convenience of that time.

Easy Eddie had a son he loved dearly. He gave him the best of everything while he was growing up -- clothes, cars, and a good education. He also tried to teach him right from wrong. One thing he couldn't give his son was a good name and a good example. Easy Eddie decided that this was much more important than all the riches he had given him, so he went to the authorities in order to rectify the wrong he had done. In order to tell the truth, it meant he must testify against Al Capone, and he knew, in turn, that Capone would do his best to have him I killed. Most of all, Easy Eddie wanted to be an example and to do the best he could to give back to his son a good name. So, he testified. Within the year, he was shot and killed on a lonely street in Chicago.

These sound like two unrelated stories, but Butch O'Hare was Easy Eddie's son.

Theaters of War: We Remember, a compilation of first-person stories from World War II veterans, will be available from Glendale in early December. It can be ordered through their on-line store at www.ParadeStore.com.

Back to Glendale "Bugler" Index

Webmaster Note: Glendale put out a great internet newsletter, The Bugler. It provided interesting tips, historical information and veterans stories. We have been granted permission to reprint them here. If you are interested in other items from them or wish to visit their site, they can be found at www.paradestore.com.