Work crews begin removing kissing statue near USS Midway - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Work crews begin removing kissing statue near USS Midway

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Workers Wednesday began removing the statue of a sailor kissing a nurse near the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum on San Diego's downtown waterfront.

The 25-foot-tall sculpture, called "Unconditional Surrender," is based on the iconic 1945 Life magazine cover photo taken in New York's Time Square when the end of World War II was announced. It's a popular place for amorous tourists to replicate the kiss and take photographs.

"Unconditional Surrender" was loaned to San Diego in 2007 by the Sculpture Foundation and is headed for New Jersey, where it will undergo maintenance before the Santa Monica-based foundation loans it to another city.

The roughly 6,000-pound sculpture and its 24,000-pound base will be shipped aboard two flatbed trucks, according to the Port of San Diego.

"This is kind of a bittersweet day," the museum's Scott McGaugh told CBS 8.

He said it was sad to see the statue go, but noted that Midway officials were working to get a permanent bronze version installed by the end of this year.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, museum officials announced that an eight-week fundraising campaign raised $998,000, enough to pay for the replacement.

Seven San Diegans chipped in $100,000, and the museum also tossed in that amount.

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