“The excitement of the war bein’ over, plus I had a few drinks. So when I saw the nurse I grabbed her, and I kissed her.”
George Mendonsa, the sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square after WWII, has passed away at age 95.
Mendonsa claimed he was the sailor in the iconic photo, but could never convince Life magazine.
From The Providence Journal:
Mendonsa’s daughter, Sharon Molleur of Portsmouth, said he and her mother, who had been married more than 70 years, lived in an assisted living facility in Middletown. Molleur said she got a call at 1:30 a.m. Sunday saying that he had fallen and, moments later, had a seizure and died.
For 74 years, Mendonsa maintained that he was the sailor in the photo, but he was never able to convince Life magazine, which published the photo, one of four taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt, as “V-J Day in Times Square.”
Lawrence Verria, coauthor with George Galdorisi of “The Kissing Sailor,” published in 2012 by the Naval Institute Press, met Mendonsa “strictly as a topic of research.” His goal was to “find out who was in the pictures and let him tell the story.”
Results of facial recognition technology and the conclusions of experts in photography and forensic anthropology ruled out all the other sailors. “The evidence is so overwhelming.” Verria said Sunday night. “There really is no doubt…. This man deserves the credit during his lifetime.”
The nurse was Greta Zimmer Friedman and took place on August 14, 1945. CBS News reunited the two of them in 2012 and took them to Times Square:
“I did not see him approaching, and before I know it I was in this vice grip,” Friedman said.
But Mendonsa said he didn’t kiss her for long.
As the perfect strangers locked lips, world famous photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt snapped four pictures in just 10 seconds. CBS News reunited George and Greta in 2012 at the spot of their kiss for just the second time since that day in 1945.
“The excitement of the war bein’ over, plus I had a few drinks,” Mendonsa said. “So when I saw the nurse I grabbed her, and I kissed her.”
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