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Vandal sprays '#MeToo' on statue depicting iconic kiss a day after featured WWII veteran's death

'Unconditional surrender' symbolized the end of World War II

Image source: CBS This Morning video screenshot

A statue, depicting the iconic image of a World War II sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square on V-J Day, was vandalized overnight In Sarasota, Florida, roughly a day after the death of the veteran captured in the photograph dubbed "Unconditional Surrender."

What are the details?

On Aug. 14, 1945, sailor George Mendonsa planted a kiss on a stranger, nurse Greta Zimmer Friedman, as America celebrated the news of Japan's surrender. The moment was captured by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, published by Life magazine, and became symbolic of the end of the war.

Bayfront Park in Sarasota, Florida, has a 26-foot-tall, 15,000-pound statue replicating the image, known as "Unconditional Surrender." According to the Palm Beach Post, the statue is one of the most-photographed roadside attractions in the state, drawing in couples who smooch and pose in front of it.

A plaque on the grounds reads: "The presence of this sculpture prompts viewers to never forget the 'Greatest Generation' or the day when they demonstrated their unity — Aug. 14, 1945."

Police in Sarasota say someone spray-painted the hashtag #MeToo in red up one of the nurse's legs on the statue overnight, WTSP-TV reported. Officials received a call about the vandalism before 1 a.m. Tuesday morning.


The statue's defacing occurred just a day after the nation learned Mendonsa had passed away at the age of 95 on Sunday at an assisted-living facility in Middletown, Rhode Island. Friedman died in 2016 at the age of 92, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

There are no suspects in the Sarasota case, and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is urged to call 941-954-7025, or anonymous tips may be left at 941-366-8477.

Anything else?

Sarasota city officials said it would cost around $1,000 to fix the damage on the statue. But local company Gorilla Kleen saw the story of the vandalism on KLTV-TV, and showed up to repair the damage free of charge Tuesday morning.

One last thing…
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