Monday, November 4, 2019

November 4, 2013 -- Obama Honors BlackHawks for Second Time

November 4, 2013 – President Barack Obama hosts the 2013 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks during a seven-minute ceremony in the East Room of the White House, the second time in three years that the team has made the visit.  “Since I took office,” the President observes, “we’ve hosted a lot of championship teams, from Boston, New York, Pittsburgh and Miami, but since I’ve been president only one team has brought a world championship to my hometown of Chicago and now the Blackhawks have done it twice. Twice!”  [Chicago Tribune, November 5, 2013]  Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz and President John McDonough present Obama with a white Hawks sweater with “Obama” and the number 13 on the back after which Coach Joe Quenneville says, “To me, this is the one moment when you really can reflect back and say, ‘Wow, it was a heck of a year we had,’ and we got to share it with one another.  We’ll walk that together forever.  It’s great to be a part of the history that’s in this building and sharing it with the president is a special moment.”  With the Stanley Cup displayed next to him, the President concludes the ceremony, saying, “To the Bulls, Bears, Cubs, White Sox, I am term-limited, so you guys have to get moving.  I need to see you here soon.  Championships belong in Chicago.  So, to the Blackhawks, thank you for brining it back home.  Thanks for bringing the Stanley Cup.”

November 4, 2014 – The first Shake Shack in Chicago opens at 11 a.m. in the former Harley-Davidson gift store in River North.  A line stretches out the door with people waiting for an hour or more, the wait becoming longer as lunchtime nears.  The chain of burger restaurants war born in a summer hot dog cart in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park, just across the street from the Flatiron Building.  In a Chicago Tribune review Kevin Pang writes, “… everything we tried was solid and serviceable, though nothing would justify waiting more than 20 minutes in line.” [Chicago Tribune, November 5, 2014] Today there are three Shake Shacks in the city in addition to the original restaurant at Rush and Ohio.  One is in the Chicago Athletic Association building at 12 South Michigan Avenue while the other is in the West Loop at 185 North Morgan.  The third is at 3519 North Clark Street.  There is also a Shake Shack in Skokie in the Westfield Old Orchard shopping center.

November 4, 2008 – Before a crowd of 240,000 people jamming Grant Park, newly elected President Barack Obama delivers his victory speech.  Before he steps onto the stage Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” fills the great park on the lakefront, followed by “Only in America” by Brooks and Dunn and “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher,” the Jackie Wilson standard.  Obama takes the stage with Joe Biden as the families of the two men join them.  When the networks placed Virginia in the Democratic column at 11:00 p.m., a crowd that waited all day erupted, and now here he was -- the new president, who did not disappoint the folks who had waited much of the day to witness history. He begins with this declaration, “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer … it’s been a long time, coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment, change has come to America.” Nearly 22 minutes later Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising” ends the program after Chicago’s hometown hero finishes his victory speech with this thought, “This is our moment.  This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:  Yes We Can.  Thank you.  God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.”

November 4, 1929 – The Chicago Opera Company, eight years old, takes up residence in its new home on Wacker Drive.  On the bill for opening night is Aida with Rosa Raisa in the title role.  There is little fanfare involved in the dedication of the new house although the lights are brought up before the performance begins and the 3,471 people in attendance stand as The Star Spangled Banner is played.  The crowd begins to arrive over an hour before the opera begins, and in the foyer Samuel Insull greets each person.  He is “the man without whose planning and ciphering and propagandizing and dragooning and bludgeoning the dream of civic opera on a solid foundation of Bedford stone never would have come true.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, November 5, 1929]  Insull is undoubtedly smiling as subscription sales of seats in the opera’s new quarters have already exceeded sales of seats in its former home in the Auditorium Theater by more than a quarter million dollars.  The speedy construction of the building really is a marvel as old buildings stood, waiting to be razed, on the site in February of 1928, and in June of that year the Chicago Civic Opera Company gave a concert in the excavation that had been dug for the building.  It is a joyous evening, perhaps one of the last joyous evenings for many of those in attendance as just six days earlier panicked sellers traded nearly 16 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange, starting a string of bad news that would last for another 15 years.  But all was joyous on this night as the paper reported, “The memory of the night will abide.  It will linger upon many a radiant detail, but in the long recollection it will center upon that foyer where the leaders of a great commercial capital met to survey their task, and looking up at the columns of gray travertine and the grills of golden bronze and the panels of rose and gold, found that art for art’s sake was a master worth working for.”  The above photo shows the Civic Opera Building under construction in late spring of 1929.

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