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Drive to make "Unconditional Surrender" a permanent Sarasota statue

3:58 PM, Dec 29, 2005   |    comments
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Sarasota, Florida - Every day, hundreds of people flock to Sarasota's bay front to see a 26-foot high statue. They come to see "Unconditional Surrender" a giant statue of a sailor kissing a woman following the end of World War II.

Bill Read, Tourist:"When we first saw it, we couldn't wait to get out of the car and get our picture beside it."

The famous kiss was originally published in Life magazine and the statue is part of Sarasota's season of sculpture display. The statue is scheduled to leave town in May, but now an effort is being made to keep a duplicate in town, permanently.

Tom Savage, Spearheading Effort:"I have watched people here in tears and I'm not just talking about the generation from the second World War, I'm talking about younger couples that have that kind of emotional response to it. I've been here 34 years and I've never seen anything like it."

Tom Savage says they will have to raise about $700,000 for a similar statue. The statue would then be gift to the city for permanent display.

So far he says they've raised about $50,000. But not every supports Savage's idea. The chair of the city's public art committee reportedly even said, "It (the statue) has been getting all of the attention of an escapee from the Macy's Day parade, which is what it looks like."

However, Savage is not discouraged and believes they will raise enough money to dedicate a permanent "Unconditional Surrender" statue next year on Veterans Day.

If you'd like to help out you can contact the Community Foundation of Sarasota County at 2635 Fruitville Road in Sarasota, FL 34237.

Preston Rudie, Tampa Bay's 10 News

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