'LOVE' returns: Philadelphia park gets its sculpture back

PHILADELPHIA — "LOVE" returned to Philadelphia on Tuesday, just in time for Valentine's Day.

The famous 1976 Robert Indiana sculpture was brought back to its namesake downtown park on a flatbed truck after making a number of stops at parks and statues along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway before the reinstallation.

School children cheered and those gathered spontaneously sang the fight song for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles as a forklift placed the sculpture atop a pedestal.

Susan Murphy had the day off from work and came to the park to see the sculpture reinstalled. She played the Beatles "All You Need is Love" on her iPhone and sang along with her new pal Caitlin Night, who swung by take photos of what she called "the symbol of our city."

"This is what we are known for, and it's wonderful to have the 'LOVE' back," Murphy said. "The city seemed empty without it."

The sculpture was temporarily installed at nearby City Hall in 2016 while Love Park was going through a renovation.

It was taken out of view a year ago for repairs ahead of the park's reopening.

The perennial tourist attraction and engagement photo backdrop looks a bit different. It's been repainted to the original colors of red, green and purple that the artist originally used. At some point over the decades, the purple had been repainted blue.

Deborah Rickards, who teaches third grade at nearby Friends Select School, brought her class over to see the statue's return.

"We consider the city to be part of our campus and all of these kids know the LOVE statue," she said.

Student Caroline DeFalco said she thinks the statue is one of the city's best.

"I missed it," she said. "It's a really big part of Philadelphia."

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