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San Diego: 'Unconditional Surrender' to become permanent landmark

May 28, 2012|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • The sculpture "Unconditional Surrender" has stood in San Diego's Tuna Harbor Park since 2007.
The sculpture "Unconditional Surrender" has stood in San Diego's… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

A kiss can last forever, at least on San Diego's waterfront.

"Unconditional Surrender," the 25-foot sculpture of a sailor and a nurse kissing to mark the end of World War II, is scheduled to be taken down Wednesday from Tuna Harbor Park in front of the U.S.S. Midway Museum and shipped to New Jersey for restoration, according to a Unified Port of San Diego statement.

But that's not where the Big Kiss ends.

The Midway Museum announced Saturday that it has raised $1 million in a "Save the Kiss" campaign and will underwrite a permanent bronze copy of the J. Seward Johnson sculpture. The new statue is expected to be in place in December, the Associated Press reports.

The temporary landmark had been on loan from the nonprofit Sculpture Foundation since 2007, drawing tourists who loved to imitate the 6,000-pound couple while having their pictures taken. It was slated to come down in February, but fans petitioned the port to extend the smooch sculpture.

Another version of "Unconditional Surrender" stands in Sarasota, Fla., or it did until a car slammed into the sculpture last month and damaged the couple's feet. It will undergo repairs at the artist's New Jersey studio and return later this summer, an ABC-TV affiliate in Sarasota reports.

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