"Unconditional Surrender," the 25-foot-tall sculpture featuring a sailor kissing a nurse while celebrating the end of World War II, is being removed to make way for a permanent version of the commemorative piece.
The removal began today, Wednesday, May 30, 2012, by a crew from the artist's studio in Hamilton, New Jersey.
The temporary urethane statue will be replaced with a permanent bronze version, thanks to The USS Midway Museum having raised nearly $1 million to "save the kiss." The replacement is anticipated to be installed by the end of the year at the Port of San Diego's Greatest Generation Walk along the downtown waterfront south of the USS Midway.
"This is a day in which all of San Diego can take a great deal of pride," said Midway President & CEO Mac McLaughlin, who announced on Saturday that the fund-raising effort achieved its goal. "San Diegans have made it clear they cherish not only San Diego's military heritage, but all the men and women who serve our nation in uniform."
"Unconditional Surrender", which was created by artist J. Seward Johnson, was first loaned to the Port District in 2007 for one year. The loan has since been extended a number of times.
The design for the site is under development and will include new landscaping, walkways, possibly Japanese friendship cherry trees, benches and lighting.
Seven San Diego citizens each donated $100,000 to "Save the Kiss." The USS Midway Museum also donated $100,000. The remaining donations from citizens ranged from $10 to $10,000.
The USS Midway Museum is planning a community celebration sometime after the permanent statue is installed.
About the Port:
The Port of San Diego is the fourth largest of the 11 ports in California. It was created by the state legislature in 1962. Since then, it has invested millions of dollars in public improvements in its five member cities – Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego.
The Port oversees two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 17 public parks, the Harbor Police Department, and the leases of more than 600 tenant and sub tenant businesses around San Diego Bay.