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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

Preparing For The Return Of The Kiss Statue

In 2012, San Diegans said goodbye to the 25-foot statue of a sailor kissing a nurse that stood for six years on San Diego’s waterfront. It was on loan to the Port of San Diego from the artist Seward Johnson's foundation.

"Unconditional Surrender" returns in 2013 - this time for good. Some people will be thrilled to hear this, while others will undoubtedly cringe. The statue has divided tastes in the city since its arrival.

But love it or hate it, in a little over six weeks, "Unconditional Surrender" will be here to stay. The leadership at the Midway Museum raised $1 million to have it built and permanently installed in the waterfront park between the USS Midway and the Fish Market.

In early January, crews will begin working at the park, readying it for the statue's return.

"Some of the things we’re doing are building a permanent base," said Tanya Castaneda, a spokesperson for the Port of San Diego. "We’re installing lighting that’s mounted on the ground so that it [the statue] will be illuminated at night. It will be really striking at night, and help to add to its iconic status as a fixture on the bay that people visit as a destination."

The new kiss statue will be made out of bronze and painted to look exactly like the old one. Artist Seward Johnson based his sculpture on the historic photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square at the end of World War II.

The statue will be part of the Port’s public art collection.

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