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Historians say the couple captured in a passionate embrace on VJ Day in 1945 didn’t know each other before the kiss


A little bit of history

It is an image that captured an epic moment in U.S. history – a sailor locked in a passionate kiss with a nurse in New York City’s Times Square at the end of World War II.

And, after decades of dispute, the couple in the 1945 photograph were revealed to be 89-year-olds George Mendonsa and Greta Zimmer Friedman.
Now the couple who won the nation’s heart have reunited in the location of the famous smooch to reflect on the photograph that came to symbolize the end of the war.

On VJ day in 1945, the sailor, George Mendonsa, was drunk by his own admission. So drunk that even with his girlfriend and future wife in tow—she’s the head peeking behind behind his shoulder in the LIFE photo—he grabs a random woman and kisses her. The woman was Greta Friedman, a dental nurse. This was the first time she’d ever laid eyes on him.

“Suddenly, I was grabbed by a sailor. It wasn’t that much of a kiss.” she said in a 2005 interview with the Veterans History Project. “I felt that he was very strong. He was just holding me tight. I’m not sure about the kiss…it was just somebody celebrating. It wasn’t a romantic event.”

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