GRAHAM, N.C. (WGHP) — Two of Graham’s most iconic residents are celebrating the end of an era.

“Embracing Peace,” the city’s 25-foot statue celebrating the sailor and nurse photographed at the end of World War II in 1945, is returning to its home state of New Jersey.

On Tuesday, a crew from Seward Johnson Atelier will arrive to dismantle the statue.

The statue has stood in front of Alamance Arts since October 2019. It was originally meant to be a six-month installation, but the COVID-19 pandemic turned that short appearance into a nearly three-year stay.

The artist, Seward Johnson, passed away in 2020 after creating more than 450 life-size bronze figures.

In addition to “Embracing Peace,” Alamance Arts also hosted Johnson’s “Man on the Street” in 2006 and “Beyond the Frame” in 2011.

According to Alamance Arts, the statue pays homage to Aug. 14, 1945, also known as Victory over Japan Day when Japan surrendered and brought a close to World War II.

“It honors the memory of the past, reminding us of the sacrifice of a nation, and awakening younger generations to the heroic stories of America’s Greatest Generation,” the arts group said in a news release.

Graham was one of the statue’s many stops along an international tour from Florida to California, including New York City, as well as Italy. A casting of the sculpture has also been displayed in France and Belgium.