George Mendonsa: The Story Behind The Kiss (Video)
One of the most iconic photos in history is the one of the sailor kissing a woman in Times Square to celebrate the end of World War 2 in 1945. Sadly, that sailor died on Sunday. Today would have been his 96th birthday.
His name was George Mendonsa, and he was on leave at the time, after a stint in the Pacific. He was actually on a first date with one Rita Petry who would later become his wife when the news broke that the war was over.
Everyone started drinking and celebrating in the streets. That's when he saw Greta Friedman, who he thought was a nurse. In an interview a few years ago, George said, quote, "We're all drinking and raising hell it was just plain instinct, I guess. I just grabbed her."
His date didn't even care. She said, quote, "I was in the background, grinning like a mutt. It didn't matter to me." They married in 1946, and were together until his death.
Greta didn't mind either. She said, quote, "Suddenly, I was grabbed by a sailor. It wasn't that much of a kiss. It was more of a jubilant act that he didn't have to go back."
The girl from the photo died in 2016. She was 92
YouTube/American Veterans Center