The Sailor from the Most Famous World War II Kiss Has Died
One of the most iconic photos in history is the one of the sailor kissing a woman in Times Square to celebrate the end of World War II in 1945. Sadly, that sailor died on Sunday. Today would have been his 96th birthday.
His name was George Mendonsa, and he was on leave at the time, after a stint in the Pacific. He was actually on a first date with one Rita Petry, who would later become his wife when the news broke that the war was over.
Everyone started drinking and celebrating in the streets. That's when he saw Greta Friedman, who he thought was a nurse. In an interview a few years ago, George said, "We're all drinking and raising hell. It was just plain instinct, I guess. I just grabbed her."
View this post on Instagram
Sale extended 1 more day through 11/29! To celebrate the holidays, we are offering a 30% discount on original, iconic prints in our shop. Visit shop.time.com/turkey30 and use code TURKEY30 to get your 30 % discount. Included in the shop is this iconic image; from V-J Day in Times Square, 1945, part of TIME's most influential photos of all time. (Alfred Eisenstaedt—The LIFE Picture Collection—Getty Images) #TIME100Photos
His date didn't even care. She said, "I was in the background, grinning like a mutt. It didn't matter to me." They married in 1946, and were together until his death.
Greta didn't mind either. She said, quote, "Suddenly, I was grabbed by a sailor. It wasn't that much of a kiss. It was more of a jubilant act that he didn't have to go back."
The girl from the photo passed away in 2016. She was 92.
Read more at CNN.