Sailor Kissing Nurse in Iconic V-J Day Photo Dies at 95
It's one of the most famous photos ever taken, and today the sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square on Victory Over Japan Day - Aug 14, 1945 - has passed away at age 95.
The Providence Journal reports that George A. Mendonsa passed away early Sunday morning at an assisted living facility in MIddletown, Rhode Island after falling and suffering a seizure. He would have been 96 in two days.
It's taken decades for Mendonsa's claim to the the sailor in the iconic photo, and only in recent years were advance facial recognition methods able to convince Naval historians. However, Life Magazine, which originally published the image a week after it was taken, never acknowledged Mendonsa's claim.
According to the Journal, Mendonsa explained to "The Kissing Sailor" auhor Lawrence Verria that the kiss was the result of being excited about the announcement of Japan's surrender, ending World War II, and Mendonsa's experiences delivering wounded sailors to a ship of nurses when he served.
The photo, taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt, gave historians a challenge, as it took decades to verify the identities of the subjects. The woman in the photo, identified as Greta Zimmer Friedman, passed away in September of 2016. She was walking along Time's Square in her dental hygienist uniform when Mendonsa grabbed and kissed her. The two then parted ways, and Mendonsa married Rita Petry - a woman he was actually on a date with when he kissed Friedman.
Friedman was buried in Arlington National Cemetery next to her husband, Dr. Misha Friedman. Mendonsa's daughter told the Journal that arrangements had not yet been made for her father.