62 Years Ago Today….

Ken AshfordHistoryLeave a Comment

….this historic photograph was taken:


This is easily the most famous photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt.  It shows an American sailor kissing a young woman during V–J Day impromptu celebrations in Times Square in 1945.

Because the faces of the kisser and kissee are partially obscured, many have laid claim to be either the man or the woman in this photo.  Some forensic experts believe this North Carolina man (now living in Texas) can rightfully claim to be the kisser.  His account:

He said he was changing trains in New York when he was told that Japan had surrendered and World War II was over.

"I was so happy. I ran out in the street," said McDuffie, then 18 and on his way to visit his girlfriend in Brooklyn.

"And then I saw that nurse," he said. "She saw me hollering and with a big smile on my face … I just went right to her and kissed her."

McDuffie said the kiss was prompted by the realization that his older brother, W.D., would soon be coming home from a Japanese prison camp.

"We never spoke a word," he said. "Afterward, I just went on the subway across the street and went to Brooklyn."

In 2005, the Naval War College accepted George Mendonça (of Newport, Rhode Island)’s claim that he was the sailor, based on a study of tattoos and scars.

As for the kissee, a woman named Edith Shain has laid claim to that title for years.  And she accepts the claim of former New York City police detective Carl Muscarello that he is the kisser.

Whatever.  It’s a good photograph.