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There is more to the 'rest of the story'
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The other day I got a phone call from Louis, a Monroe resident. He called to inform me that he had a story - perhaps I would like to reference it in my Friday column. We met one afternoon, chatted briefly, and I looked over the story. For someone like myself, who enjoys travel and history, this story hit home. So this week, as a tribute to the late and legendary Paul Harvey, I would like to present you with my own "rest of the story". I have to warn you though, maybe you've already heard this - when I excitedly told my dad, he interrupted and finished my sentence as if to say "duh, everyone knows that."

During the 1920s prohibition years in America, there was no greater symbol of lawlessness than Al Capone. His is a legend that lives to this day - the name Al Capone still resonates a sense of disobedience, a feeling of ruthlessness and blood. Capone made a name for himself by embellishing Chicago with murder, prostitution, and illegal booze. Still, the man was untouchable, thanks in part to his lawyer, nicknamed "Easy Eddie". Eddie was exceptionally good at his job, and was able to keep the mob boss out of prison.

For his efforts, Easy Eddie was well taken care of. If you have ever seen the movie "Casino" you understand egregious opulence. Just like Robert De Niro's character, Eddie lived in a cocoon of wealth. The money was infinite; his family mansion took up an entire Chicago city block, and was filled with every modern convenience of the day.

However, toward the end of his empire, Capone was brought down by testimony provided by Easy Eddie. His lawyer essentially turned against him, and Capone was sent to prison for income tax evasion. Why would Eddie do this? Here is where two sides of the same story exist. First, Easy Eddie had a twinge of consciousness, and turned against Capone because of the atrocities unraveling around him. Eddie wanted to rectify the wrongs he had done, try to rescue his tarnished name, and besides, integrity is worth more than all the wealth in the world, right? Eddie testified against Capone to provide a better example for his son, whom he dearly loved.

The second side to the story is that Eddie could see the writing on the wall. He knew Capone was about to go down, and decided to testify to save his own skin. Maybe he could cut a deal with the government. After all, he actually was a partner in Capone's illegal mob activities; he had entrenched himself in illegal schemes and partnered with the most notorious criminal in American history. By testifying, maybe Eddie could keep himself out of prison. It is also argued that Eddie's testimony against Capone secured a spot at the prestigious U.S. Naval Academy for his dearly loved son.

You decide which version you believe - that's just what I came up with. Whatever motives Eddie had, he was murdered on a lonely Chicago street, ostensibly on order by Capone.

Let's change gears a little bit, and meet a young man by the name of Lt. Cmdr. "Butch" O'Hare. Butch was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific during World War II.

One day, Butch's squadron was sent on a mission. Once airborne, Butch noticed that he was low on fuel - no one had topped off his tanks! Ordered to turn around, Butch headed back to the mother ship. Enroute and all alone, he spotted a formation of Japanese Zeros heading directly toward the defenseless American fleet. Here was a dilemma: Butch could not warn the ships, but could also not alert the American fighters to return.

Seizing the initiative, Butch dove into the formation of Japanese fighters. His wing-mounted 50 calibers lit up, he charged back and forth, surely catching the Zeros completely off guard. Ammunition exhausted, Butch continued his one-man assault, attempting to ram the enemy planes. His gun camera captured the onslaught, and finally the Japanese squadron retreated. Butch's bravery surely saved many lives aboard the American fleet, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Sadly, Butch was later shot down in the Pacific. Although rescue planes were sent, no trace was ever found of Butch O'Hare. But, his memory lives on. As a tribute to the Chicago native, the airport known as Orchard Depot was renamed O'Hare International in 1949 (you can visit Butch's memorial and his Medal of Honor, located between terminals 1 and 2).

Now, as Paul Harvey would say, here is the rest of the story: Butch O'Hare's father was a gentleman named Edgar Joseph O'Hare, also known to Al Capone as "Easy Eddie". The man who testified against America's most infamous gangster had a son, for whom one of the world's busiest airports is named.

Want to know even more to the rest of the story? As I sat with Louis in his Monroe home, he quietly pointed out that during World War II, he was a radar operator in the Pacific. He heard Butch O'Hare's last words. As Louis described, Butch's plane was shot up, he called out, "I'm going down!"

That was it - no trace.