July 02, 2003
a good integrity example for your children
does one teach integrity to children? How does one pass
along values? Are there any examples you might share?
best teaching is by example. Our words are never as powerful
as our actions. What we do makes all the difference. The
following two stories illustrate the answers:
Story No. 1: Legendary Chicago gangster
Al Capone had a skilled lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie."
Capone rewarded him well, and Eddie lived the high life
of the Chicago mob.
did have one soft spot, however: a son. Eddie saw to it
that his young son had the best of everything. Eddie even
tried to teach him right from wrong. But with all his
wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't
give his son - two things Eddie sacrificed to the Capone
mob - a good name and a good example.
day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. He decided
to go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al "Scarface"
Capone. He would try to clean up his tarnished name and
offer his son some semblance of integrity.
Eddie would have to testify against The Mob. So, 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 had to offer, at
the greatest price he would ever pay.
Story No. 2: World War II produced many
heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare.
He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier
Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron
was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he realized
someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would
not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back
to his ship.
flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly,
he dropped out of formation. As he was returning to the
mother ship he saw something that turned his blood cold.
A Japanese squadron was speeding its way toward the American
fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and
the fleet was all but defenseless.
was only one thing to do. He must divert them from the
fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he
dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Even after
his ammunition was spent, Butch dove at the enemy planes,
trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as
many as possible. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron
took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch
O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier.
film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the
tale. He had in fact destroyed five enemy aircraft.
took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch
became the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval
Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. A year
later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of
29. His hometown would not allow the memory of this hero
to fade, and today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named
in tribute to the courage of this great man. So the next
time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some
thought to visiting Butch's memorial.
Butch O'Hare was Easy Eddie's son.