- Posted April 16, 2012 by
San Diego, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
MIDWAY MUSEUM WANTS YOUR MONEY FOR "THE KISS."
The Midway Museum is undertaking a fund-raising campaign to pay to erect a permanent "Kiss" statue on San Diego Bay. The million-dollar effort "aims to replace the present 25-foot foam statue of a sailor embracing a nurse with a painted bronze at approximately the same location," says the San Diego Union/Tribune newspaper.
The Midway hopes to raise the balance by Memorial Day 2012 & have the statue ready for dedication on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7th.
The decommissioned aircraft carrier, located along the San Diego Embarcadero, has come to the rescue of the Unconditional Surrender statue just in the nick of time. They are soliciting donations to get the "Kiss" statue placed permanently across from the Midway at the Greatest Generation Walk. This popular tourist destination in picturesque Tuna Harbor Park is located across San Diego Bay from North Island Naval Air Station & the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ronald Reagan. Of course the U.S.S. Midway, a 1945-vintage aircraft carrier, is open nearby as a museum of naval aviation.
It is so obvious just how much the "Kiss" statue means to our city. Already San Diegans are digging into their wallets and sending in checks--both big & small--to save the "Kiss." Since the fund-raising efforts were announced Thursday, April 12 by the Midway Museum, six generous individuals have already pledged $100,000 each. "In the first 24 hours after the announcement, about $15,000 (in small donations) were also contributed," said Midway spokesman Scott McGaugh to the SD Union/Tribune.
This, despite the fact that San Diego Port District "art experts" besmirched the popular tourist attraction as 'tacky" & "tawdry." Even my own Facebook friend, former San Diego Union/Tribune art critic Robert Pincus, lambasted the giant statue in 2009 as "monstrous" & "kitsch." Many art snobs find "The Kiss" to be "inferior," but they are not in touch with the sentiments of the local populace who adore this statue.
Sophisticates gnash their teeth over the 25 foot foam-urethane rendering of the famous photo taken by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt on August 14, 1945--the day the Japanese surrendered in WW II. However, plenty of locals love their piece of waterfront passionate embrace.
A sampling of Union/Tribune comments online show the true devotion many San Diegans feel towards the "Unconditional Surrender." One writer stated that "it's the symbol of heroism for the many men & women who gave their lives during those years for the freedoms which we enjoy & take for granted. The statue stimulates conversation about the war as well as San Diego’s important contribution to that endeavor. The point is that many people enjoy the statue & it or a replica should be incorporated into the waterfront plans."
Many in San Diego consider the “Unconditional Surrender” statue as more than just an attraction. It is a piece of history, & it's proper place is seen as located beside the USS Midway.
Interestingly, before the Port District was about to decommission the statue in late February & dismantle it, photographer Michael Realpeople held a "kiss-in." Realpeople organized & photographed 100 couples kissing in front of the statute. It was meant as a tribute & got lots of local press. I was there & it was awesome!
If anyone out there would like to help, please text 80888 to give $10 to the efforts. The website is: http://midway.org/save. The Port District has put up all kinds of unusual, coldly impersonal art work that people walk by and look at curiously. Then something as beloved as "The Kiss" is derided by the public officials as "schmaltzy." Yes, San Diego has, in many ways, outgrown it's designation as a "sleepy Navy town." But the locals know what they like & want up along their waterfront area permanently.
One veteran summed it up when he said to the Union/Tribune, "I'm a veteran of the Korean War & I'd like to save the "Kiss," Haruo Tayama said. As for myself, my father was a WW II submariner & veteran. I like to remember him when I see the "Kiss."