Landing a kiss at the Battleship Missouri Memorial may land visitors a free return trip to Hawaii

Guys and gals like visiting couple Robert and Virginia Rosborough of New York who reenact this famous WWII Times Square kiss while at the Battleship Missouri Memorial can enter to win a return trip to Hawaii. Also pictured is the 6-foot “Unconditional Surrender,” a lifescale bronze sculpture by Seward Johnson, courtesy of The Sculpture Foundation © 2004. http://www.sewardjohnson.com

Coinciding with the arrival of a lifescale, bronze sculpture depicting a famous World War II kiss, the Battleship Missouri Memorial is inviting visiting couples to “plant one on” for an opportunity to win a return trip to the Hawaiian Islands.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial this week launched its “Victory Kiss Contest,” in which couples reenacting photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s WWII Times Square picture of a Navy sailor kissing a young nurse can enter to win the getaway, including roundtrip airfare on Hawaiian Airlines to or from one of its U.S. Mainland gateway cities and a two-night stay at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa. The contest runs through Oct. 30.

With the nearby sculpture, couples will have an outstanding example to guide their reenactments. The 6-foot piece, titled “Unconditional Surrender,” was created by Seward Johnson, artist and son of the founder of Johnson and Johnson. It is touring the country as part of the “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive!” initiative, a nationwide, grassroots effort to establish an annual day to honor the achievements of America’s WWII generation so that their courage, self-sacrifice and service will continue to inspire future generations of Americans.

Photos of the visitor reenactments will be posted on the Battleship Missouri Memorial Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/Battleshipmissouri), where 10 finalists will be chosen on Nov. 7 based on the most “likes” they receive. From the resulting 10 finalist couples, the grand prize winner and runner-up winners will be randomly selected. The grand prize winner will be announced on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. (Runner-up prizes will include credit with the Battleship Missouri Memorial’s online Victory Store. All finalists will receive two movie vouchers to see Universal Picture’s Battleship, premiering in May 2012.)

“World War II may have formally ended on the USS Missouri with the signing of Japan’s surrender, but another iconic moment occurred weeks earlier when peace was sealed with a kiss in Times Square,” said Michael A. Carr, Missouri’s president and chief operating officer. “When Japan first announced its surrender on Aug. 14 — Aug. 15, Japan time — people from all over the world broke into spontaneous celebration, including a certain uninhibited Navy sailor and a young nurse. That photo went on to become one of the most famous photographs ever taken.”

Weeks later, on Sept. 2, 1945, Gen. Douglas MacArthur and representatives from 10 nations assembled on the USS Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay, to sign the Instrument of Surrender, thereby formalizing the end of World War II.

Carr added: “The Battleship Missouri Memorial is proud to showcase ‘Unconditional Surrender,’ a remarkable sculpture that so masterfully captures a moment in history. It’s like seeing an image pulled from the history books and brought nearly to life. The experience is similar to the first time I stepped aboard the Missouri and imagined the many people and historic events that had likewise crossed her decks. History really does seem to come alive in Pearl Harbor.”

The Battleship Missouri Memorial is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Memorial photographers will take reenactment photos through 3 p.m.). Shuttle buses provide roundtrip transportation from the new Pearl Harbor Visitor Center during operating hours. Standard admission, which includes choice of a guided tour, is $20 per adult and $10 per child 4-12. For more information or to reserve a tour, call 973-2494 on Oahu, toll-free at 1-877-MIGHTYMO (1-877-644-4896) or visit http://www.ussmissouri.org.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial, located a mere ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial, completes a historical visitor experience that begins with the “day of infamy” that saw the sinking of USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor and ends with Imperial Japan’s unconditional surrender aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Following an astounding career that spans five decades and three wars, from World War II to the Korean conflict to the Liberation of Kuwait, the “Mighty Mo” was decommissioned and donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which operates the battleship as a historic attraction and memorial. The association oversees her care and preservation with the support of visitors, memberships, grants and the generosity of donors.

For more travel features, visit:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

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