|'He believes in duty, honor, country,' Daley says of son|
December 1, 2004
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
Twelve years ago, Mayor Daley choked back tears as he stood before a wall of cameras and talked about a father's disappointment in his son.
Patrick Daley, then 17, had hosted an unsupervised party at his family's Michigan summer home while his parents were out of town and it dissolved into a bat-wielding brawl that left a teenager seriously injured.
On Tuesday, Mayor Daley stood before a phalanx of cameras with a lump in his throat again -- only this time he was talking about a father's pride in his son.
Patrick Daley, now a 29-year-old MBA from the University of Chicago, had made the gutsy and unusual decision to become an enlisted soldier in the Army's regular airborne infantry.
'That is his calling'
Gutsy because the United States is a nation at war and Patrick Daley could end up in Iraq or Afghanistan within a year. Unusual because most 29-year-old MBAs working as independent financial analysts don't forego six-figure salaries to join the military. And if they do, they enter as officer candidates -- not as enlisted men.
"That's my son Patrick. He made that decision," Daley said. "He wants to start where he believes it's important. He's gone through graduate school at the University of Chicago with honors [but]. . . he'd rather do that than anything else. . . .That is his calling. . . . He believes in duty, honor and country and he wants to serve this country."
"I'm very proud of his decision and I stand by his decision. . . . He believes in public service. He sees his mother doing a lot of public service. Myself. My daughter [Nora] and, of course, my other daughter [Elizabeth]. All of them in some way doing public service."
Daley bristled when asked why his son had not decided to follow in his footsteps and enter the family business of politics.
"That's not up to me. That's up to him. People really think that some way my father sat there and said, 'You're going into politics.' You're crazy. He never said that to me in my life. He said, 'You make your own decisions.'. . . I made my own decision and I was wondering if I made the right decision after I talked to him," the mayor said.
"Too many parents make decisions for their children and they're, unfortunately, never happy the rest of their lives. Let them make their own decisions and stand by them."
Patrick Daley disclosed his decision to join the Army and climb through the ranks during an exclusive interview this week with Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed.
He talked about how much he had matured since his days as an 18-year-old West Point plebe who dropped out because he was "too selfish" to make a decade-long commitment to the military. He talked about how the West Point motto of "Duty, Honor and Country" had stuck with him all of these years and how he was finally mature enough to understand the true meaning.
Mayor Daley flatly denied he had tried to talk his only living son out of entering the military. But the emotion in his eyes and the quiver in his voice betrayed the fear that any loving father would have for his son at a time of war.
"It's a challenging time," the mayor said, choking back tears.
'You never say goodbye'
Asked how Maggie Daley handled the news as she continues her battle against breast cancer, the mayor said, "That's her son. . . . You read the paper today. . . .You think about all the sons and daughters in the military today. So you reflect upon that."
The Christmas holidays are always an emotional time for Daley as he remembers his father, sister, nephew and son Kevin, who all died around this time of year. He also makes the rounds of children's hospitals, where he thinks about Kevin even more. Asked whether this holiday season would be even more emotional as he says goodbye to Patrick, Daley said, "No. We won't. You never say goodbye to somebody."
Military discipline is good for young people: Daley
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
Mayor Daley was a ROTC fan long before his son joined the Army.
But the mayor's defense of the proposed naval academy at Senn High School did have a bit more emotion behind it Tuesday, the day the Chicago Sun-Times reported his son had enlisted.
One day after North Side residents packed a three-hour public hearing to voice their opposition to the Senn naval academy, Daley lashed out at the critics.
What military academies offer are the things teenagers need most: direction, discipline and mentoring, Daley said.
'I believe in military academies'
"I don't know why people are so upset about this idea of discipline and this idea of military service," he said. "Men and women in the Fire Department and the Police Department [are in a] military service. Do you look down upon them?
"I believe in military academies all over this city. More discipline to younger people. The mentors we receive from sergeants and officers in the high schools are wonderful. They become almost mothers and fathers to them. . . . But this is not for everyone. That's why the Board of Education has a variety of programs."
Critics fear 'indoctrination'
The barrage of criticism at Monday night's public hearing focused on fears that the proposed academy would crowd the North Side high school, particularly the science department. Opponents further argued the academy would introduce a military culture in a learning environment.
"Our children -- all of our children -- deserve excellence in education, not military indoctrination," said parent Laurie Hasbrook, who said she is the daughter of a U.S. Navy veteran.
That kind of thinking is lost on Daley, who considers military academies one of many educational offerings that students can either choose or ignore.
"Right down here [on the South Side we have the] Bronzeville Military Academy. Those children don't have to go there. . . . And very few of them ever go on to the military. But they have the opportunity if they want to go on to the military and get a college education," he said.
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