Iwo Jima statue could come to Sarasota - WFLA News Channel 8

Iwo Jima statue could come to Sarasota

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Organizers hope to bring this sculpture to the Sarasota bayfront Organizers hope to bring this sculpture to the Sarasota bayfront
This iconic photograph inspired the sculpture This iconic photograph inspired the sculpture
The concrete slab marks the space, near the "Unconditional Surrender" statue, where the Iwo Jima statue would go The concrete slab marks the space, near the "Unconditional Surrender" statue, where the Iwo Jima statue would go
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Sarasota may soon be home to one of the most iconic statues in American history: the Iwo Jima memorial.

You may be familiar with the massive sculpture that's currently on display at Arlington National Cemetery, but what you probably don't know is that wasn't the first of its kind.

Organizers are trying to bring the original Iwo Jima statue to the Sarasota bayfront.

In February 1945, the United States was fighting to defeat Japan in the Second World War, when a photographer on Mount Suribachi captured the iconic image of the American flag being raised.

Shortly after that photo was taken, sculptor Felix de Weldon used it as inspiration to make a statue. The Iwo Jima memorial was given to the military, and proudly displayed in Washington.

Years later, a larger version was created and installed at Arlington National Cemetery. The original was then stowed away and forgotten for years.

But now Tom Savage wants to bring it to Sarasota.

Savage said, "We're going to do something to the servicemen to show our appreciation."

Savage is with the Sarasota Public Art Fund. He's trying to raise $1.5 million to transfer and install the original Iwo Jima memorial near the "Unconditional Surrender" statue.

"The two things that we talk about are service and sacrifice. [The ‘Unconditional Surrender' statue] is service, and [The Iwo Jima Memorial] statue that is coming, this monument, is sacrifice."

"[The Iwo Jima Memorial] is 20 feet high, it's 18 feet long, and it's 8 feet wide," he said.

In between, he wants to create a plaza with a fountain and flower garden.

"You can almost picture what this is going to do to transform this whole corner," he said. "Just tell the Marines this thing is coming and its going to be the number one attraction here in Sarasota."

It sounds like a tall order, and it's a tight deadline. Savage hopes to raise the money and dedicate the plaza by November 10th, the birthday of the Marine Corps.

It's a dramatic moment in time that savage hopes to share with all of Sarasota.

"We're gonna do it… we are going to do it," he said.

If you'd like to help out, you can write out a check to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

In the memo line, put in that this is for the ‘Iwo Jima memorial.'

You can mail the check to:

Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Inc.

2635 Fruitville Road

Sarasota, FL 34237

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