They were 13 brightly colored statues of boys and girls wearing aviator goggles, who stood proudly on Chicago's lakefront. They were called "The Watch" and were Chicago artist Hebru Brantley's tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, the brazen men of color who flew and fought in World War II.
On Sunday, vandals destroyed them.
According to the Chicago Tribune, at least one of the statues was beheaded, and others lost fingers. The installation had only been up since May, and on Sunday morning Chicago Park District employees were trying to assess the damage.
"I am deeply disheartened by the recent actions taken towards the installation of 'The Watch,' " Brantley said in a statement viewed by the Tribune. "There is no place for vandalism in our great city of Chicago or in society in general. The installation is intended to speak to parts of all of us, and give us license to be different, to examine who we are and to dream about how we might one day change our environments for the better."
Brantley noted that he would work with the park district to fix the damage. "We are very proud of the installation, and we are looking forward to restoring it to its original condition," he said in the statement, the Tribune reports.
Chicago police told the Tribune that they were investigating the incident.
"I don't know why people do that," 41-year-old Chicago resident Angela Kwan told the Tribune. She had brought her two kids to see the installation, only to realize that the artwork had been vandalized. "It's a sad, sad story," she said.
Read more at the Chicago Tribune.