Integrity Matters Broadcasts
July 3, 2003
JULY FOURTH THOUGHTS
-- BEING A ROLE MODEL
Once again, the 4th of July is upon us, a reminder of
those who founded this nation, assisted its growth and
protected the promises that are our Declaration
Today, we are challenged to remember what was good and
could be good again about our nation and our world. Given
the opportunities afforded each of us, it might be prudent
to consider that our lives and our personal example are
the best gifts we can pass along.
The accompanying July 2, 2003, “Integrity Matters” column
speaks to the power and lasting impact of a positive role
model. After you have read our column, “Set a good
integrity example for your children” – would
you please pass along your own illustrations?
As always, INTEGRITY MATTERS.
Set a good integrity example for your children
in Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column
on July 2, 2003
How does one teach integrity to children? How does one
pass along values? Are there any examples you might share?
The 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
He 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.
One 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.
But 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.
His 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.
There 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.
The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told
the tale. He had in fact destroyed five enemy aircraft.
This 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.