Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio.
At the end of the third hour, Carmichael read two heartwarming stories about Easy Eddie and Butch O’Hare that coincidentally reveal a family connection of legacy, integrity, faith, and honor.
Leahy: In the studio with the original all-star panelists Crom Carmichael. Crom, you’ve promised me some heartwarming stories.
Carmichael: Yes. Yes. I did. These are a couple of stories that a friend of mine sent to me and I think they’re wonderful. Many years ago Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn’t famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for initiating the Windy City in everything from bootlegging booze to prostitution to murder. Capone had a lawyer nicknamed Easy Eddie. He was Capone’s lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good.
In fact, Eddie’s skills at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a very very long time. To show his appreciation Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big but Eddie got special dividends as well. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago city block.
Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him. Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly and he saw to it that his young son had 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 him right from wrong.
Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was yet with all of his wealth and influence there were two things he couldn’t give his son. He couldn’t pass on a good name or a good example. And one day Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify the wrongs he had done. He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al ‘Scarface’ Capone and clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do so, he would have to testify against the mob and he did that. He testified.
Within the year Easy Eddie’s life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street, but in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he could offer at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pocket a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clip 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 a late or early hour.’
Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time for the clock may soon be still. That’s the first story. Heartwarming. The second story is that World War II produced many heroes such as a man named Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to aircraft carrier Lexington 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 the fuel tank. He knew that he couldn’t complete the mission and return to the ship so he called his flight leader who reluctantly told him told him to go back to the ship. On his way of returning to the mothership, he saw a Japanese Squadron of aircraft that was heading toward the American fleet where.
He was he could neither radio the fleet or radio the aircraft, and the fleet was left undefended. So he did the only thing he could do. He dove into the Squadron of Japanese planes. He shot down five of them. Then he was able to return to the ship. And he shot all of his ammo. And then he tried to dive at the planes and clip their clip their wings or clip their tails so they couldn’t fly.
And when he got back to safety there was a camera on his plane that showed all of this. And so deeply relieved, Butch O’Hare and his tattered flight went back to the carrier. And upon arrival, he reported in and related the events surrounding him. The film on the gun camera mounted on the plane told the tale. This took place on February 20th, 1942. And for that action, Butch became the Navy’s first Ace of World War II.
And the first Naval aviator to win the Medal of Honor. A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at age 29. His hometown would not allow the memory of this World War II hero to fade. O’Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute for the courage of this great man. So the next time you find yourself at the O’Hare International give some thought to visiting Butch’s memorial. It’s displayed with his Medal of Honor. It’s between terminals one and two. Oh, and by the way, Butch O’Hare was Easy Eddie’s son.
Leahy: And now, you know the rest of the story.
Carmichael: Isn’t that cool?
Leahy: And easy Eddie, you know, was assassinated in 1939 by Capone because he turned against Capone. But what he did give was a good name to his son.
Carmichael: Isn’t that interesting?
Leahy: Very interesting.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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