Statue of Kissing Sailor Vandalized After Veteran’s Death


By Dylan Orren-King, Staff Writer

On February 19th The Unconditional Surrender Statue in Sarasota, Florida was vandalized only a day after the WWII veteran depicted died.

Sarasota police responded to a report of someone spray painting the statue near 12:55 a.m. Where they found #METOO sprayed in red paint on the woman’s leg.

“Desecrating a statue commemorating the end of the war is very disrespectful.” said Matthew Cassaday, a senior at WHHS who is going into the Navy after graduation. “I don’t see the justification of it. That’s not how it should be perceived. It’s a monument to a victory for our nation, not a place to expand your movement.”

The paint was removed Tuesday, however there was no video surveillance or witnesses to say who committed the crime.

“I feel it’s disrespectful to our country for someone to do that.” said Angelina Perez, a student at WHHS. “It was a prominent war that affected everyone. I don’t see a reason for that.”

One of the most long standing arguments against the photo is how it displays, “little more than the documentation of a very public sexual assault, and not something to be celebrated.” However Greta Zimmer Friedman, the woman who most believe is shown in the photo, says otherwise, “It wasn’t that much of a kiss; it was more of a jubilant act that he didn’t have to go back, I found out later. The reason he grabbed someone dressed like a nurse was that he just felt very grateful to nurses who took care of the wounded.”

“I think that our standards have changed and if you look back comparing it with the standards of today it is clearly harassment or even assault.” said Mr. Fleissner, an English Teacher at WHHS. “Based on the standards of that time, he was just so happy that he grabbed a random stranger and kissed them. The reason she’s saying it might not be a big deal is because she was also raised in that time. It becomes this exercise in how to apply the standards of today to our past.”

George Mendonsa, the sailor shown in the statue, died Monday, February 18th from a seizure at the age of 95. The original photographer, Alfred Eisenstaedt, on Aug. 14, 1945 took the photo that made George into a symbol of the end of the last World War.