The first time I learned why O’Hare Airport in Chicago, US, has its name, I was totally captivated by the story. So, what makes stories fascinating to us? Generally speaking it’s because of elements of out-of-the-ordinary, a touch of goodness, heroics, unexpected turns, some fear or horror that makes us gasp—all these and more elements, that trigger a large range of emotions. Back to the O’Hare story…
Before the name change, this Chicago airport was known as Orchard Depot Airport. Then, in September 1949, to honor the memory of the World War II hero, Naval Lieutenant Commander Edward O’Hare, the name of the airport was changed to O’Hare Airport. The picture below, shows a replica of one of the planes he flew, on permanent exhibit at the airport.
“Butch” O’Hare, as he was known by everyone, was the Navy’s first ‘Ace’ and the first aviator to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He earned these distinctions for single handedly attacking and shooting down five enemy bombers who were about to attack the aircraft carrier the USS Lexington, off the coast of New Guinea during World War II.
Tales of heroics are always interesting, but what made the story fascinating for me was the rest of the tale. You see, “Butch”, the genuine all-American hero, was the son of ‘Easy Eddie’ O’Hare, the lawyer and right-hand man of the notorious Chicago mobster boss, Al Capone. Though, in the end, ‘Easy Eddie’ was the one who got Al Capone arrested, his life was spent in very unethical businesses to earn easy money. His end was inglorious too, as he was shot down by possibly Al Capone’s henchmen, as he was driving home one evening. One thing is sure, he loved his son too much to see him involved with the world of crime and got him enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy. The rest, of course, is history—his son died in glory, in action while defending his country!