What happens when love wins over war? Unconditional surrender. The art piece "Unconditional Surrender / Embracing Peace" depicts just this: two strangers sharing a passionate embrace after the winning victory over Japan in the final stages of World War II. Based off of the original photograph captured by Victor Jorgensen in 1945, it depicts a returning sailor kissing a nurse. J. Seward Johnson is the sculptor of this 2007 piece, with similar installations being presented across the US, including Sarasota, Florida, and New York City, New York.
When the 6,000-pound, 25-foot statue was originally installed in 2007, it was meant to be temporary. It was exhibited on loan in San Diego's Tuna Park, only to be kept until August 2010. However, it remained until May 2012, where it was then sent to New Jersey for restoration. The original design was made out of a foam core and a urethane outer layer. However, in February 2013, the statue was brought back to San Diego with a bronze replacement. The USS Midway Museum raised the necessary $1 million to fund the project.
If you wish to see "Unconditional Surrender / Embracing Peace" for yourself, it is permanently on display in Tuna Harbor Park, along N. Harbor Drive in Downtown San Diego. The park is open from 6:00 am to 10:30 pm, leaving plenty of time to take a picture with a loved one. With the USS Midway as its backdrop, "Unconditional Surrender" truly embodies the naval spirit. After all, what are the troops fighting for if not the ones they love back home? This kissing statue represents the kind of peace which can only be won through hard work and dedication to freedom.
Cover Image: "Public Art 'Unconditional Surrender'" by Martha Jimenez via Flickr.