“Unconditional Surrender” May Become Permanent Fixture on the San Diego Waterfront

Unconditional Surrender,” the 25-foot sculpture of a sailor kissing a nurse during a celebration of the end of World War II, may find a permanent home on San Diego’s waterfront.

At its regularly scheduled business meeting on Tuesday, March 6, 2012, the Board of Port Commissioners conditionally agreed to accept a local group’s offer to donate a painted bronze version to the Port of San Diego. The bronze version is more durable than the foam-urethane sculpture that has been in Tuna Harbor Park since 2007.

The donor group estimates it will cost nearly $990,000 to purchase and install the sculpture.

Mac McLaughlin, President and CEO of the USS Midway Museum, told Commissioners that the Midway is prepared to launch a fund-raising effort, the details of which will be announced within one month.

“There is something magical about this statue,” said Board of Port Commissioners Chairman Lou Smith, one of the four Board members who voted to accept the donation offer.

The Board voted 4-to-2 to accept the donation, with Smith, Commissioners Robert “Dukie” Valderrama, Dan Malcolm and Lee Burdick voting for the donation. Commissioners Scott Peters and Bob Nelson voted against acceptance.

A temporary version of the sculpture, which was created by Seward Johnson, was loaned to the Port District in February 2007 and has become a popular attraction, with residents and visitors mimicking their own version of the famous kiss.

The loaned edition of “Unconditional Surrender” is scheduled to be removed in May. The sculpture will be returned to its owner, the Santa Monica-based Sculpture Foundation, which will restore it and send it to another city.

About the Port:

The Port of San Diego is the fourth-largest of 11 deep water ports in California and the top port in the state for the movement of breakbulk cargo. The Port was created by the state legislature in 1962. Since then, it has invested $1.7 billion in public improvements in its five member cities – Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City, and San Diego.

The Port District 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.


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