Iwo Jima monument scrapped in Sarasota - WFLA News Channel 8

Iwo Jima monument scrapped in Sarasota

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SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

The plans to bring an Iwo Jima monument to Sarasota have been scrapped.

The lead fundraiser for the effort spoke with commissioners on Monday and decided he did not have the support to continue with the project.

Some commissioners felt the Bayfront was not a proper location.

Along the Sarasota Bayfront, one of the most popular sights is not the beautiful water, but a World War II statue.

6/13/2013 Related Story: Iwo Jima statue could come to Sarasota

It's called ‘Unconditional Surrender,' and it shows a sailor kissing a nurse.

It is modeled after a famous photograph taken in New York at the end of the war.

Tom Savage with the Sarasota public art fund wanted to give the statue some company.  He recently began raising money to bring in the original Iwo Jima memorial. It was the very first of its kind, made before the famous sculpture over at Arlington cemetery.

It spent years in storage and recently went unsold at a New York auction.

"You can almost picture what this is going to do to transform this whole corner," Savage said at the time.

But it's not happening.

After meeting with commissioners, Savage felt he did not have the support to proceed, so he's canceling the project.

He was too distraught to speak on camera to News Channel 8.

Commissioner Suzanne Atwell said, "A lot of people feel there is quite a difference between the two monuments."

Atwell feels an Iwo Jima monument is too solemn of a piece for the Sarasota Bayfront.

She said, "Thousands of people go by there every day on that highway but is that where we want a significant memorial to those lost in World War two? I think that's the issue.">

Atwell says this monument should not be a roadside attraction. It deserves to be in a place where you can stop and reflect, like Sarasota National Cemetery.

"Even WW2 veterans, some of whom I've talked to who have written me said that would be an appropriate place," said Atwell.

Savage had originally hoped to have the Iwo Jima monument in place by November, but city commissioners felt that's too soon. Atwell says this issue is not about patriotism.

She said, "It's about our legacy as a commission and as legislators, what do we do with our precious land and our precious bayfront?"

Savage is disappointed, but Atwell says the Iwo Jima monument should be revered and held to a higher standard.

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