Love to explore attractions and oddities in the city you are visiting? Sarasota has a 26 foot tall statue called Unconditional Surrender on the Sarasota Bayfront. It is an oversized recreation of a famous photograph from the end of the war celebration in Times Square. The nameless serviceman dipped an unknown nurse for a kiss to celebrate the end of the World War II on August 14, 1945. It is known as the “Unconditional Surrender.”
The picture — titled “Unconditional Surrender” — gained world fame. It was on the front of “life” magazine shortly after and it’s always been called the kissing sailor.
There are actually a series of sculptures by Seward Johnson resembling a photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt, on V-J Day in Times Square, but said by Johnson to be based on a similar, less well known, photograph by Victor Jorgensen. The original statue was first installed in Sarasota, then was moved to San Diego, CA and New York City. Other versions have been also been installed in Hamilton, New Jersey, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Normandy, France
The statue is made of aluminum and able to withstand winds from a category 3 hurricane. Unconditional Surrender was hated by Sarasota’s Public Art Advisory Committee when it first arrived and called tacky by many, but the public loves to imitate the big kiss and dip when they stop for a photo op.
The sculpture was purchased by Jack Curran, a WW II veteran, and with support from numerous Sarasota veterans and organizations, and he was able to donate the sculpture to the City of Sarasota.
Visitors to the city love to stop by and take their picture with the famous smooch.
Artist: Seward Johnson
Donor: Jack Curran
Address: Island Park Drive, (Sarasota Bayfront), Sarasota, FL 34236