After having spent probably far too much time wandering about and marveling at the various ships and vessels in the nearby Maritime Museum of San Diego collection, I next asked Johann if he wouldn’t mind stopping at Tuna Harbor Park, situated right next to the iconic USS Midway floating museum. In addition to its great views of both the promenade and the bay, this particular park just so happens to be home to a number of war memorials, including one particularly eye-catching (if a little divisive) statue: Seward Johnson’s Unconditional Surrender, otherwise known as San Diego’s Embracing Peace.
One of the most famous photos celebrating the end of World War II was taken on August 14, 1945 in a jubilant New York during the Victory over Japan Day celebrations, when a U.S. Navy sailor grabbed an all white-clad girl and planted a kiss on her lips. Truth be told, and as many people have since pointed out, technically this was pretty much a gross straight up assault on the lady, but nevertheless, the moment does do a great job of capturing the sort of unbridled elation that was sweeping through the Allied countries as the war finally wrapped up.
Known for his giant painted bronze figures, Seward Johnson used this captured moment in time as inspiration for his Unconditional Surrender series of computer-generated sculptures, the first of which went up as a temporary installation in Sarasota, Florida (2005), and the second in San Diego (2007), where that particular version then officially took on the title of “Embracing Peace”. In 2013 the original sculpture that consisted of a foam core with a urethane outer layer was replaced with a more permanent bronze version, which, now weighing in at 2721 kilograms and standing 7,62 meters tall, certainly makes for an eye-catching spectacle. Needless to say, with that visual there are a lot of kissing couples to be found posing for photos in front of this now pretty famous piece of art!
Just a hop and a skip away from Tuna Harbor Park is the charming Seaport Village area, a 5 hectare large waterfront shopping, dining and entertainment complex that attempts to recreate a 1890s harbour side setting. Established in 1980, adjacent to the Embarcadero, and with a boardwalk that connects to the Convention Center, Marriott Hotel & Marina, Manchester Grand Hyatt and Midway Museum, Seaport Village is home to 54 shops, 13 eateries and 4 fine dining waterfront restaurants.
It also just so happens to make for a great spot to catch the setting sun, and of course listen to the Navy’s iconic evening bugle call as its sound drifts across the bay.
Always something interesting to see in San Diego!