Unconditional Surrender, the 25-foot sculpture of a sailor kissing a nurse inspired by the end of World War II, will be on display today starting at 10 a.m. at the Battleship New Jersey at the Camden Waterfront.
This iconic depiction of a famous photo attracts tourists and residents, many of who do their best to replicate the famous kiss.
Preparations are underway to put the finishing touches on the giant couple before it begins its journey westward from New Jersey sculptor Seward Johnson’s studio, toward its permanent home on the waterfront next to the USS Midway Museum at the Port of San Diego.
The public is invited to see the sculpture off as it pauses for three hours at the Battleship New Jersey in Camden. Today marks the opening of on-board tours of the nation’s largest and most decorated battleship. An event from 10 a.m. to noon christens this date, celebrates the “lift off” of the sculpture’s journey and honors the many World War II veterans who will gather at the ship.
On hand will be many New Jersey veterans; the ship’s CEO and President Phil Rowan; Ernest Borgnine’s widow Tova, in honor of her husband; and representatives from the movement the Spirit of 45. The Spirit of 45 group raises awareness for remembering and honoring the “greatest generation” for their heroism. Their efforts keep the stories alive for future generations, while applauding the living members of this group while they are still with us.
Paula Stoeke, the director of The Sculpture Foundation, which owns the gigantic artwork notes, “This sculpture is quite visually spectacular, and it will be on full view as it travels across American on an open flat bed truck. We will be launching its journey at the Battleship New Jersey to honor all of the New Jersey World War II veterans and in support of the work of the Spirit of ’45 movement.”
The artist who made the sculpture, Seward Johnson whose studio is in Hamilton, NJ, has said, “With this work, I wanted to evoke a time of unity. The moment captured in the embrace of these two strangers encapsulates the spirit of having fought a successful campaign defending our values, and celebrates the expression of sheer joy at the homecoming.”