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PHOTOS: Unconditional Surrender Statue Returns To Sarasota

The Kissing Sailor statue was struck by a car on April 26 and was sent out for repairs.

The kissing sailor statue is back on Sarasota's bayfront Tuesday morning and the love and hate for the statue remains unconditional seven months after its removal.

The statue, and was lowered by crane after it received extensive damage. The Sarasota Arts Foundation with help from The Sculpture Foundation was able to send it for repairs to Johnson Atelier in New Jersey.

"The Sculpture Foundation is delighted by the enthusiasm the people of Sarasota have shown for the sculpture’s return and appreciate their sense of loss in its absence,” the foundation announced in a statement.

The statue was insured for about $560,000, but damages were estimated to be beyond that.

The statue replicates the famous LIFE magazine photo celebrating Victory in Japan Day, and is one of several similar statues across the country.

The Seward Johnson statue first came to Sarasota in 2005 from the Sarasota Season of Sculpture exhibit.

Fans of the Sarasota Patch Facebook page, folks responded to the statue's return and the opinions remain as divided as they once were while the photo had more than 230 likes by the end of Tuesday with more than 100 shares:

Van Jazmin It was nice not having to look at that symbol of male dominance for awhile, but so it goes.

Lauren Wood Ugh. Make it go away.

Michelle Nicolette I am one of the despisers.

Laura Mcdowell Didn't miss the traffic backup

Devin O'Connell Oh Great i like that one...so romantic.

Tanya Walter Noooooooooooooooooooooooo! :( Chalk Festival murals get painted over and THIS is what gets to return to our beautiful coastline again and again!?! I think I'm going to puke!

Jeremy Lembo It is my understanding that we as Citizens are just not allowed to have public art. We are force fed artistic feces...Jesus... Rename the damn thing to Date Rape or something. Sheesh.

Cathy McDowell YAY!! They're back where they belong in time for Christmas!!

Related Unconditional Surrender Coverage:

  • 'Unconditional Surrender' statue's return delayed
  • Is This The Real KISS Statue Couple?
  • Memorial Day Not The Same Without 'Unconditional Surrender'
  • UPDATE: 'Unconditional Surrender' Removed For Repairs (VIDEO)


Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Thank you Jo Ann May the sspirit of the Christmas Season be with you and yours.. to the best of health and happiness for the coming new year! Peace
Lucena Winberg December 05, 2012 at 12:51 PM
I am one of the people that missed the statue and I am glad it's come back. It makes me smile whenever I see it. I love to see the tourists posing for photos. I agree with Richard Swier, that it reminds me of a simpler and more compassionate time. Smiling again....
Kevin December 05, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Look Haters... See it for what it is. It is art. Some people get it and some don't. Some love Picasso, some hate it. Walk into any art gallery and you are lucky if one piece moves you. Do you like any of the statues on the bayfront? So should we remove all of the others that you don't? Get a life.
Alden Keyser December 05, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Come on it's a Sarsota icon!
Claire Franklin December 05, 2012 at 01:53 PM
You all do realize this sailor grabbed the nurse, threw her off balance, and kissed her... without her consent. They didn't even know each other. This does not represent love, it represents a woman being completely taken advantage of, while the whole nation cheered and some lucky photographer won prizes. I absolutely hate this statue - and especially it's title - because I feel like it is telling me, as a woman, to 'unconditionally surrender' to whatever a man's will is and let him use me like a rag doll. How could any woman look at that and not become nauseous.
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Lucena.. I could not agree with you more. The art piece to \me, reminds me of not only simpler and compassionate times.. as they most certainly were.. instead of times where everything now is; "me, me me".. So sad.. Yes, the piece must stay as a rememberence of an era so missed.
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Kevin.. well put! 'Who' can truly say they are more qualified as to what is considered as art and what isn't?! Show me this person who feels they are above all...
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 02:38 PM
An Alden... what if it is? I'm proud to have the 'Unconditional Surrender' as my icon!
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Claire... the woman certainly didn't mind it a bit.. It was a 'moment' Claire.. it was a war's end.. But again my point Claire.. you truly need to have read the interviews.. the woman didn't mind a bit. as it was a moment of happiness and a moment to reflect on.. the sadness of having knowns many who have lost their lives.. Sorry Claire.. I'm a huge Women's Right advocate.. but I do not buy your comment one bit.
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Claire, your feministic remarks will not fly here... You will not find a larger supporter of Women's Rights than me, but at this time when it was announced the Japanese has surrended ending the war, this would be no more harmfull than when the ball drops on New Years Eve.. again Claire.. I did a lot of research into this and the nurse again, didn't mind the kiss at all.. it was a time and an era of innocence Claire.. get over it.
cd December 05, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Sarasota is Johnson's patsy as he laughs among his friends about the dirty jokes and disrespect deliberately built into his works. On the same day Sarasota suffers the racially motivated destruction of truly original art works (with a "ghetto" excuse) in Burns Square and suffers the re-erection on our bay front of what was found to be a sexual assault (that some are glorifying and justifying by wrapping it with a misguided flag of patriotism). Yet again in each case, a tiny group of petty, ignorant people have imposed their will on the greater community of Sarasota and revel in their accomplishment while the rest of us simply are embarrassed. Perhaps we should place the missing benches from Five Points Park at the foot of the statue, too!
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 03:58 PM
cd... 'Sexual Assault' ?! Let me add cd, that one of every four homeless which used to sit at the benches at 5 - Ponts (again cde, 5 - Points cannot be classified as a park any longer, due to the decision of the City Commissioners to remove the benches.. a park is not a 'park' without benches).. back to my point cd, 1 of every 4 homeless who frequented 5 - points is in fact a Veteran. The Veteran served this country proudly to provide you with the right to free speech. cd, why don't you go up to one of these cveterans and ask their thoughts on the Unconditional Surrender?! Also cd, what qualifications do you have to be above others in your interpretation of what is and what is not classified as 'art' ?! Man.. would I so like to know.. cd.. you don't like this piece, turn the other way.. problem solved.. but cd, never, ever try and tell me what I consider and do not consider as art. My opinion is 'my' opinion, wnd whyile I disagree with you, I respect your right to voice your opinion. cd, you can thank a Veteran for that right.. matter of fact, why not go down to 5-points and thank a Vet! Perhaps even buy him/her a coffee... an act of kindness goes a long way.
Brian December 05, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Hawkeye has done research into this? The nurse said that she did mind. I'm not able to find any statement that supports Hawkeye's claim that "the woman" didn't mind a bit. I don't know why he says your feministic(?) remarks will not fly here. I believe your point to be valid.
Jo Ann December 05, 2012 at 05:37 PM
My dad loved the Statue...he sat with his sweetheart many times and enjoyed the Bay view...he served in WW11 and was an honest, modest, generous, kind, disciplined, hard working, polite gentleman...he quietly gave to charities and frequented cultural events. The look on his face and his eyes may have told he did not appreciate a work of art, but his lips would have been mute. He was honored in death at the Sarasota Veterans Cemetary with his Cross stating, " Honorable American Faithful Father." I thank him and his comrades for the Freedoms I have enjoyed. They were all young men coming home, excited and happy to live in the USA...and yes the Nurse was interviewed...it was a wonderful time for all Americans. I owe them the opportunities life has given me. Everytime, and I do mean everytime, I see an American Soldier, I take a moment to thank them for the sacrificies they make for me everyday. I visited Egypt the summer of 2011, inbetween conflicts...OMG...everytime I see the Statue I am thankful, grateful, proud and relieved to live in The Good 'ole USA with it's FREEDOMS. Peace and Blessings to ALL
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Yes Brian, I've done some rather extensive research into this. Read all the interview clippings of: Edith Shain, the nurse in Alfred Eisenstaedt's original photograph.. If you actually 'read' before you post and have done some research, you would have read that she did not mind one bit and certainly understood the sailor's happiness. And Brian, if you had read Claire.s comment..: "threw the nurse off balance".. sorry Brian.. the photo clearly demonstrates otherwise.. and am certain any nurse would have been happy to have been Edith at the time.. Perhaps there are truly some sexually repressed individuals out there.. You folks need to truly lighten up, enjoy the day... take life less seriously... believe me.. the sun will shine tomorrow.. and no one was offended by this photo..
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Jo Ann Peace and blessings to you as well. I respectfully thank your father for protecting our country. Every day I go up to the statue on my walk over the span of the beautiful Ringling Bridge, I stop at the statue, and can see tears build up in the elderly men's eyes, and I wonder if they served this great country, at how many they knew who didn't return. I salute all the readers who have honored and served the United States and am so damned proud of the statues return.. the return 'home'. Peace to you all. I thank you for protecting my right to say this.
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 06:22 PM
To those who find the statue 'obscene', or sexually offensive... you don't have to look at it.. simple as that.
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Forest, you should not have a problem..
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Forest, as long as you stay away from 1260 S. Tamiami Trail in Osprey, you'll be fine.. heard they were a little upset last month and still hold a grudge.. be safe, be cool..
Jo Ann December 05, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Edith Swan was The Nurse. She was 26, at the time of the photo and died in 2010 at the age of 91. She participated in VJ's 60th anniversary in Times Square. She was quoted as saying, " It was about hope, promise about the future, love and most importantly peace."
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Edith Swan was The Nurse. She was 26, at the time of the photo and died in 2010 at the age of 91. She participated in VJ's 60th anniversary in Times Square. She was quoted as saying, " It was about hope, promise about the future, love and most importantly peace."
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Edith Swan was The Nurse. She was 26, at the time of the photo and died in 2010 at the age of 91. She participated in VJ's 60th anniversary in Times Square. She was quoted as saying, " It was about hope, promise about the future, love and most importantly peace."
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Thank you Jo Ann .. There is just so much repressed people out there... sad.. so very sad.. a day of such innocence.. and celebrations.. there is always a few in the crowd who are so sexually repressed, they just try and bring everyone down with them.. and try to make their lives as miserable as they are..
Gerald James O'Donnell December 05, 2012 at 09:16 PM
A couple of clarifications. There is a new book out published by the U.S. Naval Institute Press - The Kissing Sailor. It tells the story of the photo and an provides forensic proof of the identity of the sailor and the nurse, George Mendonsa and Greta Friedman. It also addresses the claims of others over the years to be the the sailor and the nurse, including Edith Shain, and provides physicl evidence that are not. The claim that this photo was a sexual assault was made by a feminist blogger from UK a few weeks ago. A reporter from a Gannett Paper, The Navy Times, interviewed the sailor and the nurse. Turns out it was a celebretory kiss, not an assult and not unwanted according to the nurse (Greta Friedman). She , George, the sailor, and his wife, Rita who was his date on the day of the kiss and is also in the picture over the sailor's shoulder, have been friends since they were introduced at in 1980. Here is a link to the interview. http://www.navytimes.com/news/2012/10/navy-famous-kiss-participants-weigh-in102012w/
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 09:24 PM
The claim that this photo was a sexual assault was made by a feminist blogger from UK a few weeks ago. A reporter from a Gannett Paper, The Navy Times, interviewed the sailor and the nurse. Turns out it was a celebretory kiss, not an assult and not unwanted according to the nurse (Greta Friedman). She , George, the sailor, and his wife, Rita who was his date on the day of the kiss and is also in the picture over the sailor's shoulder, have been friends since they were introduced at in 1980. Here is a link to the interview. http://www.navytimes.com/news/2012/10/navy-famous-kiss-participants-weigh-in102012w/
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 09:25 PM
The claim that this photo was a sexual assault was made by a feminist blogger from UK a few weeks ago. A reporter from a Gannett Paper, The Navy Times, interviewed the sailor and the nurse. Turns out it was a celebretory kiss, not an assult and not unwanted according to the nurse (Greta Friedman). She , George, the sailor, and his wife, Rita who was his date on the day of the kiss and is also in the picture over the sailor's shoulder, have been friends since they were introduced at in 1980. Here is a link to the interview. http://www.navytimes.com/news/2012/10/navy-famous-kiss-participants-weigh-in102012w/
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 09:26 PM
The claim that this photo was a sexual assault was made by a feminist blogger from UK a few weeks ago. A reporter from a Gannett Paper, The Navy Times, interviewed the sailor and the nurse. Turns out it was a celebretory kiss, not an assult and not unwanted according to the nurse (Greta Friedman). She , George, the sailor, and his wife, Rita who was his date on the day of the kiss and is also in the picture over the sailor's shoulder, have been friends since they were introduced at in 1980. Here is a link to the interview. http://www.navytimes.com/news/2012/10/navy-famous-kiss-participants-weigh-in102012w/
Jo Ann December 05, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Thank you for the info and site. Love it...no matter who the kisser and kissee are...its a great story of jubilation. Sarasota is fortunate to have such a wealth of resources and creativity...
Hawkeye December 05, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Jo Ann.. I could not agree with you more.. I think more thought should be put into the meaning of the piece, and less on who liked what.. was she accosted, did he physically abuse her.. get a life.. Again, there is the nurses quote on that infamous day of a celebration of an end of the war and a new-found peace: She was quoted as saying, " It was about hope, promise about the future, love and most importantly peace." The "art" is here to stay... now move on and get over it!
Ken Jones December 09, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Hawkeye , glad to see someone stick up for real art, Claire would rather have the stacked up car art that littered the right of way a few years back. A few suggestions for those that "hate" this work of art,#1 Move away from Sarasota , then you won't be forced to look at it! #2 Run for elected office in Sarasota then you can help detirmine what art should be displayed. #3 buy a GPS you can get to amost anywhere in Sarasota without passing this point! #4........ Never mind I can't say that online!

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