Unveiled as a gift to Chicago 50 years ago, to what Mike Royko described as a collective gasp and a smattering of applause. Proclaimed by Mayor Daley, it was Picasso Day in Chicago, and that seemed to make sense. The day started with a concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The unveiling event was a spectrum of emotions included Chicago pride, confusion, mystery and a reserved, gut-level feeling of accomplishment. Fifty feet tall and 162 tons of steel People saw a bug, a bird, a jazz song, Picasso's Sylvette, and an Afghan dog. People saw what they wanted to see.
But what did make sense on August 15, 1967? Afterall, 1967 was race riots in our cities, the Six Day War, the Viet Nam War, protests on our college campuses, and the summer of love.
As a Ten-year-old boy, I heard about the older brothers of classmates fearing the draft lottery. The Selective Service assigned every man who turned 18 a number between 1 and 365. If your number was high, you celebrated. If your number was low, you were in trouble. Perhaps a conscientious objection, a move to Canada or a death sentence in Viet Nam.
Just like today, there were politicians—some good, some bad, some honest and some corrupt. Some people you believed in, others you didn't trust. People saw what they wanted to see and that seemed to make sense.