This large statue is amazingly popular with tourists visiting San Diego’s Embarcadero. Tour buses park in the nearby parking lot and throngs of people stand beneath the kissing sailor and nurse, snapping photos. Many couples joyfully imitate the dramatic pose. Critics say the statue is too kitsch, but I disagree! It perfectly represents a moment in time: the end of the Second World War.
Referred to by many as The Kiss, this huge sculpture was created by the artist Seward Johnson. Its proper name is Unconditional Surrender. It’s based on a photograph taken during V-J day in New York’s Times Square. An American sailor, overjoyed at the news of the war’s end, grabbed a random nurse nearby and gave her a spontaneous kiss. The photograph became world famous.
A temporary Unconditional Surrender statue was originally placed at this site, but it was replaced with a permanent bronze version in 2012. Unlike most other monuments and memorials located on the Greatest Generation Walk, just south of the USS Midway, this statue is so enormous it can be glimpsed from several points on San Diego Bay.