The Navy sailor who passionately kissed a woman to celebrate the end of World War II — captured by a photographer in what’s easily one of the most iconic images in American history — has died.
The sailor, George Mendonsa, died Sunday at age 95 after falling and suffering a seizure at an assisted living facility in Middletown, Rhode Island. George’s daughter told the Providence Journal her father was living at the facility with his wife of more than 70 years.
The woman George kissed was Greta Zimmer Friedman … a dental assistant. The pic, snapped by Alfred Eisenstaedt, was taken in Times Square on August 14, 1945, after Japan surrendered to the U.S.
The photo, published in LIFE, caught the U.S. at a moment of pure relief and represented people letting go of their inhibitions. An examination of that day in 1945 reveals how people celebrated:
Booze flowed; inhibitions were cast off; there were probably as many fists thrown as kisses planted: in other words, once the inconceivable had actually been confirmed and it was clear that the century’s deadliest, most devastating war was finally over, Americans who for years had become accustomed to almost ceaseless news of death and loss were not quite ready for a somber, restrained reaction to the surrender. That response would come, of course. In time, there would be a more considered, reflective take on the war and on the enemies America had fought so brutally, and at such cost, for so long.
As the photo drew fame over the 20th century, rumors swirled over the identities of the kissers. Many people also view the photo as depicting sexual assault, and not something to be celebrated.
Friedman was a 21-year-old dental assistant, out in Times Square when news of the war’s end broke. George Mendonsa, who in 2015 confirmed he was the man in the photo, saw Friedman for the first time, spun her around and kissed her.
“It wasn’t that much of a kiss,” Friedman, who came forward as the woman in the photo years later, said in a 2005 interview with the Veterans History Project. “It was just somebody celebrating. It wasn’t a romantic event.”
Chicago Naval Station On Lockdown
US House send Trump impeachment articles to Senate
US House votes to send Trump impeachment articles to Senate.
The House will notify the Senate of the impeachment articles. On Thursday, House managers are expected to physically walk the articles to the Senate and read them aloud, according to a Republican leadership aide.
The senators and Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial, will also be sworn in, and the President will be officially summoned and given a time to respond to the charges.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the substance of the trial is likely to get underway on Tuesday, January 21.
‘Many Injured’ in Ottawa Shooting
Police in Canada’s capital of Ottawa said injuries have been reported after a shooting in the central part of the city on Wednesday morning.
Shooting this morning on our street… worried for my neighbours. pic.twitter.com/yh2eSSwMEF— Kate Headley (@MsCommuniKate) January 8, 2020
Ottawa paramedics said they’ve taken three people to hospital following the shooting. The three suffered gunshot wounds and were in serious condition, paramedic superintendent Hilton Radford said.
Ottawa police tweeted that they were responding to the incident on Gilmour Street in a residential area.
They urged people to avoid the area.
Catherine McKenna, the member of Parliament for the area, said she was aware of the shooting in Centretown and said her thoughts are with the injured.