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Culture

The Secret History of Times Squares Most Iconic Kiss

Rob Grams Rob Grams

You have all seen the photo, a sailor passionately kisses a nurse in Times Square at the end of World War II …but do you know the story behind it? You’ll probably in for a surprise.

We’ve all seen it a thousand times. The iconic image of a sailor in Times Square passionately kissing a nurse at the end of World War II. The photo was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt, a Life photographer and published in the issue that covered V-J Day (Victory over Japan Day – September 2, 1945) then later again in the 80s. It is one of the most iconic photos of our time.

In 2005, during an interview with the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress, Greta Zimmer Friedman, the woman in the photo recounted what happened that day.

She was 21 at the time and a dental assistant (although in the photo she is commonly thought to be a nurse). That day she and had heard rumors that the war was over so headed to Times Square, which was close to her place of work, to see for herself.

“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 […] I found out later he was so happy that he didn’t have to go back to the Pacific where they had already been through the war.”

Thank you for being in one of the most iconic images of the 20th century Greta, and rest in peace.

Sadly, Greta Zimmer Friedman died on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at the age of 92, but her memory will live on forever.

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