Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan to City: Keep “Unconditional Surrender” Statue

Sep 9, 2020
Press Release

SARASOTA, Fla – Congressman Vern Buchanan today urged the Sarasota City Commission to keep the “Unconditional Surrender” statue at its Bayfront location and not move it to a less prominent place. The commission is expected to meet this month to determine the statue's permanent home.

The 26-foot-tall “Unconditional Surrender” statue is based on an iconic photograph depicting the joyous celebration of the end of World War II. In a letter to the city commissioners, Buchanan highlighted the importance of the statue to local veterans and its overwhelming popularity among area residents and visitors.

“The statue is a prominent and popular landmark of Sarasota’s Bayfront,” Buchanan said in his letter. “I've spoken with many people in our region, especially veterans, who feel strongly about keeping the statue in its current location."

Buchanan said an on-line survey he conducted last month of people he represents showed more than 80 percent supported keeping the statue where it has been for more than a decade.

The city plans to move the statue, at least temporarily, during construction of a new roundabout on U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue. Whether it returns to its prominent location will be decided by the commission. The construction project is scheduled to begin this January and may take 18 months to complete. 

Buchanan represents more than 88,000 veterans in Southwest Florida. The statue is based on an iconic photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse in New York City's Times Square on Aug. 15, 1945, the day Japan surrendered. The photograph and statue symbolize the "Greatest Generation's" triumph in ending the deadliest war in human history. 

Read the full text of his letter below:

As you prepare to vote on whether to move the Unconditional Surrender statue to a less prominent location, I urge you to consider the views of thousands of veterans and area residents who want to keep it in its current location on the Sarasota Bayfront.

The statue is an iconic landmark enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. It commemorates the celebration of VJ Day and the end of World War II. This representation of that moment more than 75 years ago reminds us of an important time in our country’s history and honors the "Greatest Generation" who served and sacrificed.

I have spoken with many veterans about the importance of the statue, as well as many others who enjoy seeing it every time they drive by.  They do not want the statue moved or relegated to some hidden location where few will ever see it. My on-line survey of area residents showed more than 80 percent supported keeping it right where it is – and I agree with them.

The “Unconditional Surrender” statue is extremely meaningful to the Sarasota’s veteran community and honors their sacrifices for our country. This statue commemorates a significant moment in our nation’s history that we shouldn’t erase from the Sarasota Bayfront.

I again urge you to listen to the overwhelming majority of our community who want the statue to remain on the Bayfront.