Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Truly Fascinating Story For All Business Travelers Who Fly In To or Out Of Chicago's O'Hare Airport

Many years ago, Al Capone, the notorious criminal, was involved in everything from booze to prostitution to murder.  Al had a personal lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie" and Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering was the primary reason Big Al was kept out of jail for so many years.

Capone paid Eddie well and Eddie lived the high life.  He and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion that filled an entire Chicago city block.  Though involved deeply with the mob, Eddie had one soft spot, his son whom he loved dearly.  Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education and despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie tried his best to teach his son right from wrong.  Eddie wanted his son to grow up to be a good man.

One day, Eddie decided to rectify wrongs he had done and went to the authorities to tell the truth about Al Capone so he could clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity.  Eddie knew the cost for testifying against the mob would be great ... and he was right.  Within a year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago side street.  But in his eyes, Eddie gave his son a great gift.  When the police emptied his pockets, they found a rosary and a poem Eddie had clipped 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.  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."

Now an unrelated --- but necessary parallel to the above story ---- please read you won't be disappointed.   


World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Navy Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare, a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.  One day his squadron was sent on a mission.  After he was airborne, Butch looked at his fuel gauge and realized the ground crew did not top off his fuel tank.  He knew he would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and return to his ship.  Butch’s flight leader ordered Butch to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, Butch dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

On returning to the fleet, Butch saw in the distance a squadron of Japanese aircraft heading toward the fleet.  Since the fleet’s fighters were all out on their missions, the fleet was now virtually defenseless.  Butch was unable to raise his squadron leader on the radio to bring them back in time to save the fleet.  There was only one thing for Butch do … he had to stop the Japanese planes from attacking the fleet.

Without hesitation or regard to his personal safety, Butch dove into the formation of enemy aircraft; with his wing-mounted 50 caliber's guns he blazed in, attacking one surprised aircraft after another.  Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent.

Even though his ammo was gone, Butch continued his assault by diving at planes, trying to clip a wing or hit a tail in hopes of damaging them and rendering them unfit to fly. Totally exasperated, the remaining Japanese aircraft headed home and Butch perished in the ocean.

Butch’s home town vowed not to allow the memory of this WWII hero to fade from their memory.  They named their city airport after him.  The City of Chicago decided to pay tribute to its courageous native son.

So for all you travelers who fly in or out of Chicago's O'Hare airport here is my recommendation:  The next time you find yourself waiting for a flight at O'Hare Airport, give some serious thought to visiting Butch’s memorial.  Take a look at his statue and his Medal of Honor he earned.  It is located between Terminals 1 and 2.


Butch “Edward” O'Hare - the World War II Hero was "Easy Eddie's" son.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Two elderly men were admitted to a long-term care facility and just by chance were assigned to share a room.  One had been involved in a car accident and suffered extensive internal injuries and was not expected live; the other had advanced heart disease and had undergone triple bypass surgery and had a 30% chance of recovery. 

The accident victim lost his sight and was restricted to his bed.  The heart patient however was required to get out of bed at at 10: 45 each day and walk around the room. So on that first day just before lunch the heart patient painfully placed his feet on the floor. 

As soon the blind patient heard his roommate out of his bed he asked, "Would you do me a favor and go to the window and look outside?  Please tell me all the wonderful things you see."  The heart patient slowly walked toward the window, pulled back the blinds and related the sights he saw. He'd describe the birds and animals playing across the street in the city park then to the delight of his roommate he described all the people walking down the street.

On the second day, the heart patient, while looking out the window noticed the strange actions of a young man who was sitting on the rim of beautiful water fountain not far from an attractive young lady eating her lunch on a park bench.

The next day the heart patient could see the young man on the fountain sat a little closer and it was obvious the woman noticed.  Soon they were engaging in conversations.  On the fourth day the heart patient saw the couple sharing their lunches and holding hands; he thought perhaps a relationship was about to start. 

During that night, the heart patient unexpectedly died from complications and his personal possessions were quickly removed from the room. Early the next morning a new patient, a young man with a broken arm, was moved in.

As lunch time neared the blind man asked his new roommate if he would go to the window and describe what was taking place outside - he particularly wanted to know about the type of birds in the park and what the young couple having lunch by the fountain were doing. The new roommate hopped out of bed and briskly walked over to the window.

He pulled back the blinds, starred for several seconds then began to laugh uncontrollably. "Why are you laughing?" asked the blind patient. "Because you asked me to tell you what was going on outside our window. Our window faces the side of another building and there is nothing we can see but a solid brick wall. There is nothing of interest out there."

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Best or Worst Government Job? You tell me.

Most Americans know there is monument in Washington DC located in Arlington National Cemetery.  It was erected solely to pay homage to unknown American soldiers who lost their lives in military battles. Most of us refer to this monument as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier or Soldiers; however, its official name, as designated by Congress, is The Tomb of the Unknowns.

To help us better appreciate this monument and the men and women who guard it - everyday- I am sharing and interesting story you might find of value.

During 2003, as Hurricane Isabelle approached the east coast and threatened to devastate Washington, members of the US Senate and US House scurried to evacuate the DC area and for the first time in history the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs made a decision to allow the military sentinels assigned to The Tomb of the Unknowns to suspend their duties and evacuate the area as well.

Without hesitation every one of the guards respectfully declined to abandon their posts – they all volunteered to stay and continue to man their posts.

For two days the guards on duty were subjected to hurricane force winds and were pelted relentlessly with rain as they walked their posts ... however, every guard continued to walk his post. Their refusal to suspend their guard duties means The Tomb has been continuously guarded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, since it was inaugurated in 1930.

Now if you enjoyed this short story, you might find this trivia  regarding 
The Tomb of the Unknowns of interest as well.

Individuals selected for Tomb Guard Duty must serve a two - year assignment. Before accepting their post, each sentinel swears an oath they will not drink any alcohol on or off duty while serving their assignment.   Military personnel who apply to be a Tomb Guard must be between 5' 10' and 6' 2' tall and have a waist size that does not exceed 30 inches.

Newly assigned guards are required to study and memorize the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. Among the notables interned at Arlington are:

--- President William Taft
--- President John F Kennedy
--- Audie L. Murphy, Medal of Honor winner and the most decorated soldier of WWII
--- Joe Lewis, former heavy weight boxing champ - Sgt US Army
--- Abner Doubleday, Civil War General and founder of American Baseball
--- Lee Marvin, American actor PFC USMC WWII - Purple Heart recipient. 

Each guard is issued a specially designed pair of shoes that has extra thick soles. The thick soles on their shoes prevent their feet from being affected by the heat or cold. In addition, their shoes have metal heel plates that extend all the way to the top of the shoe to ensure a loud, distinctive click when the guards come to a halt

Every guard is required to wear gloves while on duty. Guards wet their gloves before reporting for duty to prevent their hands from losing their grip on the rifle they carry.

Within the Tomb lies one “Unknown” from World War I who was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Three Greek figures adorn the Tomb; one figure represents Peace, another Victory, and the last Valor.

Inscribed on the tomb are these words:


Tomb Guards carry M-14 rifles, all with hand-made rifle stocks. The stocks on these weapons were made by Tomb Guards. Each guard is required to clean his rifle daily and keep it ready for use at all times 

Guards take exactly 21 steps to cross The Tomb – the 21 steps symbolize a twenty-one gun salute.   

{The custom of a 21 gun salute stems from a naval tradition. When a warship encountered a friendly vessel it would fire all its cannons harmlessly out to sea, until all canon ammunition was spent. This act showed the ship was disarmed and signified the lack of any hostile intent. As military customs evolved - 21 shots became the norm.}

After walking across the Tomb, guards execute an “about-face” then pause 21 seconds before they begin their return walk back across The Tomb.
Guards always carry their rifles on the shoulder facing away from The Tomb. After they walk across The Tomb and execute an “about-face” – the guards ceremoniously move their rifles to the outside shoulder.

Since 1948, Tomb Guards have been assigned to a special platoon within the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment known as The Old Guard. 

During the winter months Tomb guards change shifts every 60 minutes – during the sweltering summer months Tomb guards change their shifts every 30 minutes.
After Arlington National cemetery closes to the public (7 p.m. to 8 a.m. April through September and 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. October through March); the sentinels continue to walk their posts.  That's right - The Tomb is guarded twenty-four hours a day - 365 days a year.

When a guard successfully completes his initial two-year assignment, he or she is awarded a “special lapel pin” – a small distinct wreath – which they can wear on their military uniform for life.

This small unique “wreath” signifies to all that they served as "A Guard of the Tomb".