Friday, 24 May, 2019


Sailor in V-J Day Times Square kiss dies

Sailor in V-J Day Times Square kiss dies Sailor in V-J Day Times Square kiss dies
Bennie Garza | 19 February, 2019, 12:29

The US sailor famously photographed kissing a stranger in New York's Times Square to celebrate the end of World War Two has died aged 95.

Mr Mendonsa died two days before his 96th birthday.

Mendonsa, a retired fisherman, had maintained for years that he was the sailor locking lips in a picture taken on August 14, 1945, by Alfred Eisenstaedt and published in Life magazine as a scene from "V-J Day in Times Square".

The sailor planted a kiss on Ms Friedman, whom he had never met.

Critics of the photograph say it is symbolic of a time when men controlled women and that it even normalized sexual assault and rape culture.

What isn't often mentioned about the photo is that Mendonsa is not actually kissing his girlfriend. She died in 2016 at the age of 92 at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia, from complications of old age, according to the Associated Press.

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With victory over Japan about to be declared, Mendonsa, who was in New York City to go on a date, suddenly chose to kiss the closest woman to him as the happy news broke in the streets and folks waited for USA president Harry Truman to make the official victory speech.

George Mendonsa, then 89, holds one of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century at his Middletown, Rhode Island home. "So when I saw the nurse I grabbed her, and I kissed her".

Ms Friedman fled Austria during the war as a teenager, while the photographer Mr Eisenstaedt - who was Jewish - fled Nazi Germany a decade previously in 1935.

"I didn't know who the hell I grabbed, I knew she had the uniform", Mendonsa told the Veterans Centre in a 2015 interview. "It wasn't a romantic event", Friedman said in the 2005 oral history.

Mendonsa revealed the reason behind the kiss was that Friedman reminded him of the nurses that would care for wounded sailors on the ship - and he had drunk a few alcoholic beverages.

"It was just somebody really celebrating", Friedman said.

A jubilant American sailor clutching a white-uniformed nurse in a back-bending, passionate kiss as he vents his joy while thousands jam Times Square to celebrate the long awaited-victory over Japan.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mendonsa is also survived by a son named Ron Mendonsa, Providence Journal reported.

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