Someone To Look Up To

A crystal sun lit up the sky as the roar of fighter planes spread out over the waves. The aircraft carriers behind them had long since faded away under the clouds with the rest of the fleet. Suddenly, a plane pulled from the group and began heading ba
by Joseph Cunningham, LC | Source:
A crystal sun lit up the sky as the roar of fighter planes spread out over the waves. The aircraft carriers behind them had long since faded away under the clouds with the rest of the fleet. Suddenly, a plane pulled from the group and began heading back from where they had come. The name outside the cockpit read: “Captain Butch O’Hare, U.S. Navy.”

Butch bit his lip and shook his head as he looked at the fuel gage: it was just enough to get him back. Someone on deck was in for push-ups – a lot of push-ups.

Time passed. Butch turned his gaze to the ocean. Wait a second! The young pilot squinted as he watched a group of black dots move over the horizon. Big dots, moving fast – moving towards the fleet: bombers, and little fighter planes with little red dots on their wings. Japanese!

O’Hare dove his plane towards the unsuspecting enemy. Guns blazing, he sent each of the convoy’s fighters into the Pacific, downing several of the massive bombers with them. When his ammo ran out, O’Hare literally flew circles around the remaining bombers, dizzying the gunners and startling the pilots. After a few minutes, the group changed direction. That squadron wouldn’t cause any trouble anymore.

Twenty minutes later, Captain O’Hare landed on the flight deck of an Allied aircraft carrier. Medics and mechanics ran toward the crippled plane as black smoke leaked out of its chewed-up sides.

An officer removed the camera that had been hidden underneath to record the squadron’s mission. When the film was played back, Butch’s story began to circulate around the fleet. Butch was a hero – he had saved the fleet, he had saved their lives.

It had happened once before…

They called them the “Roaring Twenties.” A quiet man sat before a blazing fireplace in the living-room of his urban mansion, while his young son cuddled up on his lap. He was a lawyer who worked for Al Capone, and he was known as “Easy Eddie”.

Eddie ran his fingers through his young son’s soft, brown hair, staring deep into the boy’s eyes: so blue, so innocent; like his own had been so very long ago. Eddie had everything; but there was something he couldn’t give the boy, something money could not buy – two things: good example, and a good name. His kid would grow up hearing his dad was a criminal.

“And God forbid,” whispered Eddie, “that you grow up a rotten crook like me.”

And so, he made a decision. On that rainy Chicago afternoon, Easy Eddie drove to the City Police Station. He didn’t hide his face under his collar; he didn’t fake his name at the front desk. He told them everything, knowing exactly what he was doing, knowing just what would happen to him because of it, picturing in his mind the price he’d pay if his boss found out – when his boss found out. And it wouldn’t be long before he did.

It happened on a stormy night. The city shivered in the rain, while the wind howled and shrieked over the slippery roads. A blue sedan slid through the city side-streets, driving frantically as if chased by a ghost, with Easy Eddie at the wheel.

He was being followed. Eddie shifted into high gear, taking several turns in quick succession; and when he turned his head, they were gone. He breathed a sigh of relief.

About halfway down a side street, Eddie heard a hissing noise pierce the darkness. He stopped the car and ran his shaking fingers through his hair. He could see the broken glass scattered over the road; he could feel the car sink as its tires blew out his last hopes of life. He didn’t run, he didn’t get out of the car; he just sat there crying, taking his last look at a picture of his young son before the bullets riddled his body.

Eddie’s son would grow up an honest kid, with a good name born from a good example. When the United States entered the war in 1941, the young man joined the fight for freedom. He became the first pilot to receive the Medal of Honor during the Second World War. Shortly after, he was killed in combat, shot down in the line of duty, sacrificing his life for the cause of right as his father had done years before. His name would remain so renowned, that folks from his hometown would later name their city’s airport after him. Today they have his statue in one of the terminals. Old men still salute when they walk by.

You see, Easy Eddie’s full name was Edward O’Hare. Captain Butch O’Hare was his son.

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