Monday, July 10, 2006

 

History Lesson

You don't actually have to take the quiz. Just read straight through, and
you'll get the point, an awesome one.....

Take this quiz:

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor actress.

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners. How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are
no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the
applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and
certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel, appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6. Name half a dozen heroes or scholars whose stories have inspired you.
Easier?

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the
ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They
are the ones that care.

Story Number One:

During WW II, there was a fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier
Lexington in the South Pacific named Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare.

One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne,
he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that 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 and headed back to
the fleet. As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that
turned his blood cold. A squadron of Japanese bombers were speeding their
way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a
sortie and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his
squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor, could he
warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do.
He must somehow divert them from the fleet.

Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation
of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in,
attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch weaved in and
out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible
until finally all his ammunition was spent. Undaunted, he continued the
assault. He dove at the planes, trying to at least clip off a wing or
tail, in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering
them unfit to fly. He was desperate to do anything he could to keep them
from reaching the American ships. Finally, the exasperated Japanese
squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and
his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival he reported
in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the camera
mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's
daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had destroyed five enemy bombers.
That was on February 20, 1942, and for that action he became the Navy's
first Ace of WWII and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional
Medal of Honor. A year later he was killed in aerial combat at the age of
29. His home town would not allow the memory of that heroic action to
die. And today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the
courage of this great man. So the next time you're in O'Hare visit his
memorial with his statue and Medal of Honor. It is located between
terminal 1 and 2.

Story Number Two:

Some years earlier there was a man in Chicago called Easy Eddie. At that
time, Al Capon virtually owned the city. Capone wasn't famous for
anything heroic. His exploits were anything but praiseworthy. He was,
however, notorious for enmeshing the city of Chicago in everything from
bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder. Easy Eddie was Capone's
lawyer and for a good reason. He was very good. In fact, his skill at
legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. To show his
appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big;
Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a
fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the
day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago city block.
Yes, Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little
consideration to the atrocity that went on around him. Eddy did have one
soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly.

Eddy saw to it that his young son had the best of everything; clothes,
cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.
And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to
teach him right from wrong. Yes, Eddie tried to teach his son to rise
above his own sordid life. He wanted him to be a better man than he was.
Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things that Eddie
couldn't give his son. Two things that Eddie sacrificed to the Capone mob
that he could not pass on to his beloved son: a good name and a good
example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Offering his son a good
name was far more important than all the riches he could lavish on him.
He had to rectify all the wrong that he had done. He would go to the
authorities and tell the truth about Scar-face Al Capone. He would try to
clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of
integrity. To do this he must testify against The Mob, and he knew that
the cost would be great. But more than anything, he wanted to be an
example to his son. He wanted to do his best to make restoration and
hopefully have a good name to leave his son. So, he testified. Within the
year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago
street. He had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer at the
greatest price he would ever pay.

I know what you're thinking. What do these two stories have to do with
one another?

Well, you see, Butch O'Hare was Easy Eddie's son.

"Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to
thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD." [Psalms 25:7]

And so it shall be that we also remember those for goodness sake.

Peace be With You,

Randolph


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