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CROWN POINT — On Monday, the installation of the dramatic "Embracing Peace" sculpture by renowned American artist Seward Johnson will begin at approximately 8 a.m. at the Legacy Fields Sportsplex, 1313 E. North St., near the main entrance.

The sculpture itself, which depicts a sailor and a nurse embracing over news World War II has ended, as well as the installation process, is expected to be visually engaging. A huge crane will lift the sailor and nurse high into the air.

The statue recreates the iconic 1945 Life magazine photo taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

The city of Crown Point, the Crown Point Redevelopment Commission and the Seward Johnson Atelier, a nonprofit entity that encourages placement and sharing of public art, has brought the enduring kissing couple to Crown Point.

This 25-foot-tall sculpture in bronze honors the moment in New York City when an anonymous sailor embraced a nurse during the jubilant celebration when the end of the war was announced.

The sculpture has attracted tourists and residents in various cities across the United States from Florida to California as well as in New York's Times Square and Rome, Italy.

A casting of the sculpture had been on display in historically relevant sites in Europe as well, including the Mémorial de Caen in Normandy, France, and is currently sited at the Bastogne War Museum in Belgium.

The foundation’s curator, Paula Stoeke, said one key purpose of public art is to initiate dialogue in communities.

"This monumental sculpture is provocative in its very presence and should turn heads as well as start conversations," she said.

"Crown Point is creating a special opportunity for visitors to interact with the sculpture and be affected by its symbolism. We hope that part of the result will be the telling of individual stories from the greatest generation, to those that follow.”

Well known for recreating life in our times in realistic bronze, Johnson steps back into history with this work to pay homage to the veterans of World War II.

This artwork honors the memory of the past, reminding us of the sacrifice of a nation and awakens a younger generation to a turning point in our nation’s history, according to Stoeke.

“With this work, I wanted to evoke a time of unity," Johnson said.

"The moment captured in the embrace of these two strangers encapsulates the spirit of having fought a successful campaign defending our values and celebrates the expression of sheer joy at the homecoming.” 

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Lake County reporter

Rob covers urban affairs and other matters in Crown Point, St. John, Winfield and beyond. Previously he covered Valparaiso, Hammond, Gary and East Chicago. He's also written for various magazines and pens a culture blog for The Times.