This glorious statue located in San Diego on the river front was originally called “Unconditional Surrender” when it was installed in 2007. Re-installed in 2013, the name changed to “Embracing Peace’. The statue depicts the iconic kiss between a sailor and a nurse celebrating the end of WW11 in Times Square, New York on VJ Day, otherwise known as Victory in Japan, in 1945. I visited San Diego in 2018 and was on a bus tour when I first noticed the breath-taking statue. Something about it compelled me to go back and take a closer look. When I returned and and stood at its base, I couldn’t look away. To say it was merely statuesque was the same as saying Godzilla was a just a very large gorilla. The statue was achingly gorgeous, a chiseled reminder of a beautiful moment in time, etched in stone to help the world remember.

            I know most of the other statues highlighted in the blog were of women, but something about the “coupleness” of this one set it apart from the rest. It certainly represented many of the same ideals that the other statues did such as dreams of hopes, love, faith and peace. But it was more than that; it was if the partnership between the two strangers was the glue that had cemented them together in a kiss that locked them entwined for all eternity. And the way she is bending backwards to kiss him as his arm steadies her, signals a high degree of trust, not often seen in couples who have just met. If they could speak, would their words say, “War is over. Embrace love.”

            I’m sure many of you have read reports about the man and woman, who despite public outcry, did not go on to have a torrid love affair. We know that he was a soldier and she was a nurse, so both of them must’ve been ecstatic that the era of hatred was coming to an end, and hopefully was going to be replaced with empathy, compassion and tolerance. The mood that set the tone for the kiss was simply stated; the kindness of strangers will lead the way.

            Still, I imagine more for the nurse. She is at the center of a statement piece and her story needs to be larger than life. My mind events reason why she hid her face from the camera. Certainly, she wasn’t just a shy medical provider with a boyfriend who would be angry when he saw her face plastered across a national magazine kissing another man. She was a spy, involved in espionage, one whose covert operations lead to the end of war.

Another statue plants a seed for a story. Feel free to grab a lump of clay and run with it.


Iconic Mary Richards, a spunky Minneapolis Minnesota newswoman, portrayed by the effervescent Mary Tyler Moore, has her own 8 ft. bronze statue. Mary stands on the corner of Nicollet Mall and 7th St, the same spot Mary famously tossed her hat towards the sky in the opening credits of the 1970’s sitcom. The theme song, “Who can turn the world on with a song,” was her anthem. Mary is now housed inside a Visitor’s Center, which provides guests with a hat that can be tossed in the air for a photo shoot.

I have never visited this statue, a friend alerted me to her existence. But she is definitely on my “To Do” list.  When the statue was first erected in 2002 by Gwendolyn Gillen, she caused quite a stir. For those of you not familiar with the show, Mary was a trendsetter. She represented women everywhere when she broke free from the traditional role of wife and mother. Upon her death, her costar Dick Van Dyke, called her an urban legend who left an impression on the hearts of mankind.

I like to think I have a personal connection to Mary. She reminded me of my mother, a woman who also blazed the path for feminism. My mother, like many other women during WW11, embraced wartime as an opportunity to forge ahead in the workplace. She became an executive in the garment district and was often photographed wearing a wide-brimmed black hat that she “paid a lot for”. My mother wore that hat everywhere, and even though I never saw her throw it up in the air, I like to imagine she did.

Rumor has it that a concerned fan has provided Mary with a mask and gloves to keep her safe from the coronavirus. Of course, they did, she’s going “to make it after all.”


When I was 16, I went to Alaska with my aunt and uncle and two female cousins. I rode in a motor home with all the comforts of domesticity. I was the same age Sacajawea was when she served as an interpreter for Lewis and Clark on their Corps of Discovery Expedition. She was either pregnant or lugging a small child through uncharted territories from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. My path led me from Long Island,  NY to Alaska, in the middle of the summer. We may have spent five days traversing the unpaved Alaska-Canada Highway, but nobody erected a statue in my honor.  Sacajawea had her likeness chiseled time and time again along the Lewis and Clark trail.

            The first and only statue I found of her in 1971 was located in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon. This bronze statue was roughly 8 ft, tall and had been dubbed “The Madonna of the Trail.” It’s easy to see why: Sacajawea is holding her son Jean Baptiste Charbonneau who accompanied her on the trial. Funded by The Women’s Suffrage Association, the statue was created by Alice Cooper and unveiled in 1905. Etched are these words: “Erected by the women of the United Sates in the memory of the only woman in the Lewis & Clark expedition, and in honor of the pioneer mother of Oregon.”  It’s not an impressive statue as far as statues go, but the words are an eternal message of hope and praise. Sacajawea acted as a Shoshone interpreter, and despite her youth, inexperience and foray into motherhood, her tenacity and bravery were well-respected.  Many people saw her as a beacon of peace. One of her favorite sayings, “Everything I do is for my people,” is still uttered in many indigenous circles.

            There are more statues of Sacajawea than any other woman in the USA. Don’t get me wrong, she’s amazing and deserves the bronze treatment. There have been a few recent additions erected along the landscape of America, many of which are glorious, especially the one in the Cascade Locks Marine Park and another one in Three Forks, Montana. But don’t take this the wrong way. Surely, there have been other incredible women in recent years worthy of a bronze bath. I’d be happy with copper, marble or even glass.

Care to nominate someone? Let’s dot the world with monuments of the matriarchy!



          I found the bronze statue of Emily Carr, a Canadian icon, while I was on a cruise to Alaska. The trip was winding down and Victoria, British Columbia was the last excursion before disembarkation in Seattle. Keep in mind that I had just spent 13 days exploring the glorious Pacific Northwest frontier and the Alaskan glaciers as my backdrop. Breath-taking at every turn doesn’t adequately describe the magnitude of the scenery. So, why did a small bronze sculpture of an eccentric woman with a monkey on her back pique my interest?

            First off, the statue is situated in the best spot along the harbor front; nestled in front of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, next to the BC legislative building. Jaw-dropping views of the deep blue sea and majestic Cascades mountains paint the backdrop. At night both the hotel and the government building light up like a twinkling cruise ship and a Disney castle, respectively. Before I go any farther, I need to tell you that Victoria is possibly the most gorgeous city in North America; it’s as if an offspring of a horticulturalist and a British architect designed the city with a mindset that it was best to err on the side of opulence. What did Emily Carr do to deserve a statue in such an aristocratic city, knowing full well that men are usually bestowed with ts honor?

            Emily, 1871-1945, was Canada’s most recognized modern painter. Her complicated life took her to San Francisco, London, Cornwell and Paris where she refined her craft and cultivated her style. She painted portraits, still life, landscapes and flowers but is known as the earliest chronicler of life in BC, especially that of the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest. Her achingly beautiful artwork followed a “God as Art” style.

            A heart attack at a young age led her to pursue writing where she excelled in the genres of fiction and non-fiction. She even penned a ghost story.  In her later years she became a devout animal activist. The monkey on her back, which is not often spotted at first glance, is Woo, her pet Japanese monkey. I like to think he represents her exotic talent; and although it took a toll on her life, she guarded it and kept it close to her heart. Emily was a feminist who had to fight many battles to gain acceptance into the art world. But like many women of merit, she persisted. Most Canadians consider her to be the darling of the women’s movement. The statue, by Canadian sculptor Barbara Paterson, was erected in Oct. 2016 as part of Women’s History Month.

            Emily is a timeless treasure for any culture. I am glad she has been memorialized in bronze for the future. Long live the Queen of Canadian art!