Tuesday, May 19, 2015

When We Read, We Look for Ourselves in the Words

When we read, we look for ourselves in the words. If we are unable or uninspired to find ourselves there, the words remain meaningless to us. The stories they convey become “throwaway” experiences, never to revisit our minds, never to summon our memories. But if we “become” the old man in Hemingway’s sea; if we “are” Daisy to Fitzgerald’s Gatsby, then literature “is” who we are, or at least, points to whom we might have been, or can be—it is the indelible yardstick against which we measure ourselves. Author Francis Hamit’s “Shenandoah Spy,” a novel of historical fiction based on the true story of Belle Boyd, a legendary female spy for the Confederacy during America’s Civil War, was one of those stories that metamorphosed into a subjective experience for me, and to such an extent that it was surprising to me—surprising and satisfying. Let me tell you why.
                Although I often read and write about history, the Civil War of the United States is not high on my list of subjects; not because it isn’t fascinating in its own right, but rather that it holds less weight for me than other histories such as that of America’s native people, the Great Depression, and World War II. My interest in “Shenandoah Spy,” however was sparked by a social media interchange with its author, an informed and shrewd interchange on his part in response to a posting I submitted on Facebook on the 35th anniversary of the Kent State Shootings in protest against the Vietnam War. I looked him up and discovered that he has an extensive background in military intelligence and espionage, a résumé I thought he might put to good use in the stories about which he writes. I ordered the book because of its “first-born” chronology in his body of work rather than its subject. But somewhere deep inside me, I also wanted to be “swayed” by a good Civil War story; I wanted to be brought into the fold. Hamit did not disappoint me on that point in “Shenandoah Spy.”
                How is it that in 2015, a reader in the senior years of her life (me) can be transported to a time a century-and-a-half ago and relate to a heroine of only seventeen-years-of-age (Belle Boyd)? The answer is found in Hamit’s presentation of Belle Boyd’s story. He makes room for the reader in the words. He writes with such intimacy and immediacy that it invites the reader to wonder how he/she would have behaved in Boyd’s stead. The reader suffers Boyd’s vulnerabilities; staggers in her exploits; quakes in her boots. And just as importantly for me, this author instilled in me a desire to pay closer attention to this era of my country’s history.   
                Despite my delight in “Shenandoah Spy,” conversely, an aspect of it niggles at my consciousness. Given that it takes place during, and in response to, the “slave-era” of America’s story, a supporting cast of African Americans is to be expected. There can be no such story absent that body of humanity. Hamit isn’t shy about offering a view of the Civil War as one less about “freeing the slaves” and more about other factors, though. The following conversation between characters Brodhead and Strother in the book illustrates this point: ‘“Not for freeing the slaves?” [asks Broadhead]. Strother had to think about it. “In time, on some abstract level, I might be, but this isn’t the way I’d choose to do it. Most people in the South don’t own slaves. They’ve been seduced into this thing by radical elements that wanted to break up the country, and seized upon the activities of the Abolitionists as an excuse.” “And those Abolitionists have stirred up the war fever on this side. Radicals on both sides have pushed this war into being. It could have been prevented.” Brodhead gestured with his hands as if to illustrate the futility of it all. Strother nodded. “The rich and privileged wanted a war and the rest of us will pay for it.”’

                In an excerpt further on in the story, Strother states. ‘“…Most Negroes [in the south] ain’t that displeased with their lot in life. ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ was a masterful load of horse manure when it came to representing the usual situation. You don’t abuse slaves, any more than you would a horse or a cow. It’s not good business and people frown on it. House servants especially have an easy life. They become a part of the family.”’ In that vein, Belle Boyd submits that the Yankees “…exaggerate the colored folks capacity and desire for freedom – those that want it find a way to buy themselves free.”’ Her personal slave Eliza is depicted as one such happy “servant.” Not only does Eliza aid and abet Boyd willingly in her daily life and her spying missions, she is depicted as a personal “friend” rather than as a slave of her mistress. Of course, Hamit puts forth the then self-serving point of view of southerners in his treatise. Following Solomon Northrup’s true story of cruelty suffered at the hands of a slave-owner in “Twelve Years a Slave” that found light in recent times, the portrayal of the master/slave relationship in “Shenandoah Spy” is difficult to reconcile. I suppose, as in any other human enterprise, the minutiae of America’s Civil War ranged every possibility available at the time. Many of those fine points are to be found in “Shenandoah Spy.” It is good reading.

Linda Lee Greene’s novel “Guardians and Other Angels” is at http://goo.gl/imUwKO. Her novel “Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams,” co-authored with Debra Shiveley Welch, is at http://amzn.to/VazHFG. Her artwork is on view online at www.gallery-llgreene.com. Her Twitter handle is @LLGreeneAuthor.        

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

When Spirit Moves, We'd Best Follow

In a few weeks, I will bring to a close my daily stint as a “Granny Nanny” to my grandsons Alixander and Noah. Two years ago, I retired from my position with a local interior design firm, rented out my home, and moved in with my daughter Elizabeth and the boys, then fourteen and eight, to help out as much as possible. This occurred as a result of the death of Elizabeth’s husband Mark.
          As the smoldering days of summer are at their peak this year, I will relocate once more. I will leave my daughter’s condo in neuvo-posh Powell, Ohio and return to my house in an elderly and modest neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio—on a good traffic day, only a forty-minute drive apart, but light-years distant in benchmarks used in the United States to gauge the quality of life available in them. For instance, while Powell boasts some of the best schools around, like most school systems in large cities across the nation, Columbus City Schools cripple along. In my youth, Powell was farmland, stretching north of Columbus as far as the eye could see, but which now comprises broad avenues of sprawling, multi-storied homes and “executive” condos essentially, all of which have Beemers, Benzes, Volvos and their equivalents parked in garages nearly as large as the whole of my little house in Columbus. Sans make-up, to which I’ve grown allergic, and minus a Juviderm pout, and sporting a post-menopausal JLo booty, and even though my roots need touched-up and I drive a Kia Soul rather than a vehicle standard for the area, now and then, and risking sensory overload, I insert myself into the blonde and boy-hipped female fray of Powell and do the dodge-‘em-grocery-carts thing at the Kroger Superstore. When absolutely necessary, I also flash a credit card in the feathered-out establishments along Sawmill Boulevard, one of the region’s de rigueur shopping areas. But despite my pluck, there is no way around the fact that for the long haul, I do not belong in Powell. I am just no good at “keeping up appearances,” which is a requirement here. My daughter is a natural at it. She was born chic. Her soul requires it. My soul, on the other hand, while deeply proud and accepting of Elizabeth’s innate elegance and grace, compels me toward a plainer and simpler way of being.
        And so, in August, I will return to my humble home in Columbus. My portion of Universal Spirit, which has been there all along, hiding in nooks and crannies invisible to its tenants, will greet me at the door, and let out a sigh of contentment. “Oh, let’s unpack those boxes and put the furniture back in place,” it will exclaim happily. While Spirit has been stirring all of this within my soul, it has been busy inside of Elizabeth’s, too. Independent to her core since the day of her birth, she is ready and eager to take up her life on her own again; to expand into the rooms I occupy now, and to set up her office and workout space; to convert the family room into a hangout for my grandsons and their friends. There is another element to this crowded mix. My son Frank also moved in with us a year ago. A long-time resident of New Jersey, Frank was one of the thousands of victims of Hurricane Sandy, from a financial standpoint that is, and had to come home. He will move into my house with me for a year or so, time he will likely need to completely re-establish himself here.  
        It is a universal truth that life wastes nothing, and although my Spirit yearns for a place of my own other than Powell, there was, and continues to be until the day a truck pulls up to my daughter’s condo door to haul me away, additional purposes, beyond the obvious, for my being here. This is far more than my “Granny Nanny” story. This two-year-block-of-time has been a veritable laboratory for Spirit; each of the five human beings subject to it have been individual Petrie dishes of experimentation for it—Petrie dishes of flagrant emotions; of bruised and bolstered egos; of tested and strengthened integrities; of shattered illusions; of acquired wisdom; of gained respect; of acceptance; of renewed commitments, of love. But among all of the subjects of this particular curriculum that Spirit had/has in mind, I think that forgiveness was/is its paramount goal. I do not care how exemplary our performances as parents, and I fell short in too many primary ways in that regard, there always exists fallout among parents and their children, especially their grown children. But Spirit grabbed each of us by our shoulders and guided us firmly, carefully, lovingly around one another, and ultimately toward one another. We prevailed! We came out of this human trial better persons, one and all!
        Like the lingering effects of a summer lover left behind, the memories of my two-year sojourn in Powell will become indelible pages in my book of life, for it was here that my daughter, my grandsons, my son, and I reconnected; it was here that our family bond was forged anew. Yes, I feel free to go my own way again because the time is right for all of us to do so. But more than that, I can go because I feel forgiven by my children, at last. Not all of us are given such an opportunity, and I am grateful for it!

Linda Lee Greene is the best-selling author of the true-life novel GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS http://goo.gl/imUwKO, and the co-author with Debra Shiveley Welch of the suspense novel JESUS GANDHI OMA MAE ADAMS http://amzn.to/VazHFG. Linda’s artwork is on view at www.gallery-llgreene.com. Linda’s Twitter handle is @LLGreeneAuthor. Her Amazon Author’s Page is at https://www.amazon.com/author/lindaleegreene, and follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/LindaLeeGreeneAuthor, as well as on her Goodreads page at http://www.goodreads.com/LindaLeeGreeneAuthor

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review of TO FAME’S PROUD CLIFF by Bob W. Dunbar

In the early decades of the nineteenth century, the United States of America was in its adolescence, comprised primarily of its Eastern Seaboard and easternmost Midwest regions. Other than bustling New Orleans, the Louisiana Purchase was “unorganized” land; the Oregon Country threatened to become another colony of the British Empire; and the Southwest, including California, was under Mexican rule, as was present-day Texas. The Caucasian population of the United States at the time, driven by its fierce sense of nationalism, rationalized its greed for expansion. Its burning desire was a nation of uninterrupted land from the east-to-west coasts, and north-to-south from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Author Bob W. Dunbar, in his fine book TO FAME’S PROUD CLIFF, addresses a portion of America’s expansion story as it unfolded through the lives of two giants among men then, namely Andrew Jackson and Samuel Houston. Although deeply flawed in their separate personal aspects, as well as controversial, then as now, in their respective world-views, the two men were steadfast cohorts responsible in fundamental ways for much of the territorial growth of the United States.         
As a writer of historical fiction, I am well-aware of an author’s challenge in taking the two-dimensional historical figures as written in school books and expanding them into three-dimensional characters for a novel. In TO FAME’S PROUD CLIFF, Dunbar has created flesh-and-blood characters that are so real they practically jump off the page. As portrayed in this book, Houston’s yearning for a “big” life captures the imagination of the reader and recruits him/her to that epic endeavor. Houston’s uncompromising commitment to his mentor and surrogate father-figure Andrew Jackson also bends the reader’s will to the same cause. And the reader gets drunk, depressed, discouraged, wounded, sober, energized, renewed, and healed in tandem with Houston by way of Dunbar’s capable hand.
In addition, a writer’s job is to create sympathetic protagonists, and despite my ingrained prejudice against Andrew Jackson, wrought by the Cherokee blood coursing my veins, after reading TO FAME’S PROUD CLIFF, although not willing to give him the benefit of the doubt exactly, I am willing to entertain the notion that alongside his quest for glory and immortality in enlarging his country, a smidgen of altruism existed in Jackson’s Indian Removal policies, if for no other reason than to save the indigenous people from total extinction at the hands of individual whites. That too, is the rationale Dunbar gave me in response to my Facebook Private Message to him on the issue of Jackson vs Native Americans. Maybe Dunbar’s speculation on this matter fills the gap in what reasonably should have been irreconcilable differences between Jackson and Houston, that of Jackson’s seeming inhumane attitude toward Native Americans and Houston’s love of, and devotion to, them. For a time in his youth, and again in later years, Houston actually lived among the Cherokee—was an adopted son of the Cherokee Chief Oolooteka (Ahuludegi), also called “John Jolly” by European Americans. And among Jackson’s three children, all of whom were adopted, two of them were Native Americans. Of course, altruism does not necessarily explain his choice of progeny. I guess, one of my points here is that this book has caused me to ponder, and to consider searching for more information on its topic.          
                That Dunbar engaged in meticulous research of the historical period depicted in this book is apparent. His rendition of that history is couched in a well-written story that is informative and engaging. It held my interest from its opening page to its last. TO FAME’S PROUD CLIFF is a valuable addition to the bookshelves and eReaders of lovers of historical fiction and/or biographies.

Linda Lee Greene’s novel “Guardians and Other Angels” is at http://goo.gl/imUwKO
Linda Lee Greene’s novel “Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams,” co-authored with Debra Shiveley Welch, is at http://amzn.to/VazHFG
Linda Lee Greene’s artwork is on view online at www.gallery-llgreene.com

Linda Lee Greene’s Twitter handle is @LLGreeneAuthor.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Join Major League Baseball in Supporting Autism Awareness

Catch a baseball game and join Major League Baseball and your favorite team in support of autism awareness. Click on the team logos below to find out more.
o    Autism Awareness Ticket Offers
AUTISM SPEAKS: AUTISM AWARENESS; Catch a game and join Major League Baseball and your favorite team in support of autism awareness. Click on the team logos below to find out more.
·         Arizona DiamondbacksArizona Diamondbacks
Sun. April 12

·         Atlanta BravesAtlanta Braves
Sun. June 7

·         Baltimore OriolesBaltimore Orioles
Sat. April 11

·         Boston Red SoxBoston Red Sox
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·         Chicago CubsChicago Cubs
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Sun. June 7

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·         Cleveland IndiansCleveland Indians

·         Colorado RockiesColorado Rockies
Sat. April 25

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·         Houston AstrosHouston Astros

·         Kansas City RoyalsKansas City Royals

·         Los Angeles AngelsLos Angeles Angels
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Sun. April 26
·         Milwaukee BrewersMilwaukee Brewers
Sat. April 25

·         Minnesota TwinsMinnesota Twins
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·         New York MetsNew York Mets
Sun. May 3

·         New York YankeesNew York Yankees

·         Oakland AthleticsOakland Athletics
Sun. April 12
·         Philadelphia PhilliesPhiladelphia Phillies
Sun. April 25

·         Pittsburgh PiratesPittsburgh Pirates
Sun. April 19

·         San Diego PadresSan Diego Padres
Mon. April 13

·         Seattle MarinersSeattle Mariners

·         San Francisco GiantsSan Francisco Giants
Tue. June 2
·         St. Louis CardinalsSt. Louis Cardinals
Fri. May 29

·         Tampa Bay RaysTampa Bay Rays
Sat. June 13

·         Texas RangersTexas Rangers
Tue. April 14

·         Toronto Blue JaysToronto Blue Jays
Wed. April 22

·         Washington NationalsWashington Nationals
Sun. April 19

All-Star FanFest
July 10 - 14

Monday, April 13, 2015


·         POSTED BY JILL JEPSON ON APRIL 5, 2015 AT 2:41PM
VIew Blog
"FRESH START" acrylic painting
by Linda Lee Greene 
Here are the stories of two aspiring writers I worked with years ago:

The first, whom I’ll call “Jane” was positive her memoir was going to be enormously successful. Her greatest fear was that she’d have the press “beating her door down” once  her book came out. She’d had a colorful childhood, and her writing was strong, and she thought those two things would certainly lead to success.
I loved this writer--her passion, her energy, her vibrant outlook, but I worried that, once she saw how challenging the marketplace really is, she would falter.
Unfortunately, my fears came true. Her first rejection sent her reeling. When she had a half dozen, she was so devastated she stopped sending her memoir out—and that was the end of her writing career.
The second writer, “Joe,” had very different expectations from Jane. He was sure his magazine articles weren’t good enough for major venues, so he focused on small-circulation newsletters and religious magazines. He got into a niche of writing how-to articles, and racked up a lot of publications. But he never pushed himself beyond that narrow niche. Despite having a lot of talent, he never submitted to a national magazine or tried writing something new and different. He was so convinced it was pointless, he didn’t try.
Although Jane and Joe may sound like opposites, they had the same problem: They suffered from what Buddhist blogger Phillip Moffitt calls the “tyranny of expectation.”
Whether your expectations are sky high or not high enough—whether they’re making you suffer from shattering disappointment (like Jane) or keeping you from being the most successful writer you can be (like Joe), getting out from under them is one of the most liberating things you can do.
It’s not easy. Most of us will never let go of expectations altogether. But we can all loosen our grip on the expectations that bully and constrain us, at least a little. Here’s how:
See the writing life as an exploration. When you go exploring, you don’t know what you’re going to find. That’s the fun of it. The writing life isn’t a superhighway to success. It’s a winding path that can take you to beautiful vistas as well as through some pretty dark forests. Keep in mind you’re exploring unknown territory. It’s not going to be comfortable—but it is going to be exciting.

Look for possibilities rather than certainties. I used to try and fight the blues by telling myself I was certain my next work would be a success. It never worked.
Now, I think of what is possible, rather than what is certain. When you start looking at the possibilities open to you, you realize they are vast, even innumerable. Expectation is all about seeing a single outcome. Letting go of expectations means seeing that all bets are off and almost anything can happen.
Trust the process. Your writing is going to lead you where it will lead you. There is no “wrong” place. There is just the place you are. Relax, and let your writing guide you. Trust it to take you where you need to go.

“A life of no expectations is not a life without hopes or dreams,” writes Bill Bohlman on ThatBuddhaGuy blog. “It is a life of striving to attain…goals while constantly remaining aware that, for all we think we know, there is far more that we don’t.”
None of us knows where our writing will take us. Instead of imagining what lies around the next bend, open up to the infinite range of possibilities ahead.

Jill Jepson is the author of Writing as a Sacred PathGet her free ebook Calling Up the Writer Within: A Short Guide to Writing at 50 & Beyond here.


Linda Lee Greene’s novel “Guardians and Other Angels” is at http://goo.gl/imUwKO

Linda’ Lee Greene's novel “Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams,” co-authored with Debra Shiveley Welch is at http://amzn.to/VazHFG

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Boy Who Became a Robin

I am always in search of ways of connecting with my Cherokee roots, and in that effort, I belong to several Facebook groups centered on Native American history and lifeways, both past and present. The following, delightful “coming of age” Chippewa legend “The Boy Who Became a Robin” was posted initially by my friend, Katherine Collins (Lady Night Hawk). She is a Reverend, Minister of Peace & Chief Administrative Officer of the federally recognized independent branch of the Oklevueha NAC. It is a universal spiritual church that honors and respects all spirituality and the Native American beliefs and traditions. The church follows the Oklevueha NAC laws & guidelines, especially the Code of Ethics. To get your membership card, go to the following website: http://bear-clan-of-sc.org/

Once upon a time there was an old Indian who had an only son whose name was Opeechee. The boy had come to the age when every Indian lad makes a fast in order to secure a Spirit to be his guardian for life. 
The old man was very proud, and he wished his son to fast longer than other boys, and to become a greater warrior than all others. So he directed him to prepare with solemn ceremonies for the fast. 
After the boy had been in the sweating lodge and bath several times, his father commanded him to lie down upon a clean mat, in a little lodge apart from the rest. "My Son, endure your hunger like a man, and at the end of twelve days, you will receive food and a blessing from my hands." 
The boy was careful to do all his father commanded, and lay quietly with his face covered, awaiting the arrival of his guardian Spirit who was to bring him good or bad dreams. 
His father visited him every day, encouraging him to endure with patience the pangs of hunger and thirst. He told him of the honor and renown that would be his if he continued his fast to the end of the twelve days. 
To all of this the boy replied not, but lay on his mat without a murmur of discontent, until the ninth day, when he said, "My Father, the dreams tell me of evil. May I break my fast now, and at a better time make a new one?" 
"My Son, you know not what you ask. If you get up now, all your glory will depart. Wait patiently a little longer. You have but three days more to fast, then glory and honor will be yours." 
The boy said nothing more, but, covering himself closer, he lay until the eleventh day, when he spoke again. "My Father, the dreams forebode evil. May I break my fast now, and at a better time make a new one?" 
"My Son, you know not what you ask. Wait patiently a little longer. You have but one more day to fast. Tomorrow I will myself prepare a meal and bring it to you." The boy remained silent and motionless beneath his covering except for the gentle heaving of his breast. 
Early the next morning his father, overjoyed at having gained his end, prepared some food. The food in hand, he took it and hastened to the lodge intending to set it before his son. Upon approaching the door of the lodge, to his surprise he heard the boy talking to someone. He lifted the curtain hanging before the doorway, and looking in, saw his son painting his breast with vermilion. And as the lad laid on the bright color as far back on his shoulders as he could reach, he was saying to himself, "My father has destroyed my fortune as a man. He would not listen to my requests. I shall be happy forever because I was obedient to my parent; but he will suffer. My guardian Spirit has given me a new form, and now I must go!" 
At this his father rushed into the lodge, crying, "My Son! My Son! I pray you leave me not!" 
But the boy, with the quickness of a bird, flew to the top of the lodge, and perching upon the highest pole, was instantly changed into a most beautiful Robin Redbreast. Looking down on his father with pity in his eyes, he said, "Do not sorrow, O my Father. I am no longer your boy, but Opeechee the Robin. I shall always be a friend to men, and live near their dwellings. I shall ever be happy and content. Every day will I sing you songs of joy. The mountains and fields yield me food. My pathway is in the bright air." 
Then Opeechee the Robin stretched himself as if delighting in his new wings, and caroling his sweetest song, flew away to the nearby trees.


Linda Lee Greene’s novel “Guardians and Other Angels” is at http://goo.gl/imUwKO

Linda’ Lee Greene's novel “Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams,” co-authored with Debra Shiveley Welch is at http://amzn.to/VazHFG

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Tale of Two Tales: Your Deeds Reflect in Your Children

The following are based on actual facts, but my friend Yatendra Singh has just added his own language and morale to them to make them more personal and interesting.


Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn’t famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed “Easy Eddie.” He was Capone’s lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good at his craft! In fact, Eddie’s skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid Eddie very well. Not only was the money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large it filled an entire Chicago city block. Eddie lived the high-life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocities that went on around him.

Eddie did have one soft-spot, however. He had a son whom he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object. And despite his own involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach his son right from wrong. Eddie wanted the boy to be a better man than he was. Yet, with all of his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn’t give his son; he couldn’t pass on a good name or a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. He wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided to go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al “Scarface” Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and thereby offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew the cost would be great. But he testified anyway.

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 could offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem 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, at late or early hour. 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.”


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 looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. We 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 aircraft was speeding its 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 calibers blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plan and then 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.

Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible, rendering them unfit to fly. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O’Hare and his tattered fighter plane limped back to the carrier.

Upon arrival, Butch reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of his daring attempt to protect his fleet. 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 World War II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the 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 WWII 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 displaying a statue of him and his Medal of Honor. It’s located between Terminals 1 and 2.


Butch O’Hare was “Easy Eddie’s” son.

Morale: You reap what you sow, and your deeds, whether good or bad, reflect in your children. It’s for you to decide…food for thought!
Linda Lee Greene’s novel “Guardians and Other Angels” is at http://goo.gl/imUwKO
Linda’ Lee Greene's novel “Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams,” co-authored with Debra Shiveley Welch is at http://amzn.to/VazHFG