1,000 Words: The V-J Day Kiss

Ray and Ellie Williams, Navy veterans who married the day after V-J Day, kicked off the anniversary of the famous kiss, captured by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt in Times Square on August 14, 1945.

No, they weren’t the actual people photographed in the original, but they represented the “Greatest Generation” at today’s moment.

Who the original couple were remains a mystery, although George Mendonsa, 91, of Rhode Island, insists it was him.

  • Khatti

    I’m sorry but I’ve got to ask: would you advocate a sexual harassment lawsuit against a sailor that kissed a total stranger after returning home today?

    • tboom

      I remember seeing this iconic image often as a kid. At the time it captured the joy and relief of my parent’s generation as that awful war with all its sacrifice came to an end. I assumed the couple were out celebrating together. In my mind, that could have been my Mom and Dad.

      Then I saw an article somewhere (probably in the ‘90s) in which Mendonsa claimed he was the sailor. I read his story about walking across the street and grabbing a nurse he didn’t know. The story made me look at the body language in the photo with a new eye, I didn’t like what I saw. That new truth wiped the romance out of that image. From that time forward, I just cringe when I see the photo.

      • Khatti

        I’m sorry…but I find your reaction excessively, and dangerously, hypersensitive. As far as I know the nurse involved did not feel scarred for life.

        • tboom

          If you read the link provided in the article, if indeed the nurse was Greta Friedman, no she wasn’t scarred for life.

          I may be hypersensitive, you aren’t the first to accuse me of that. However, the fact remains if you believe Mendonsa, he grabbed a stranger and kissed her without permission.

          In the article: “too much to drink, beautiful woman, …” Does any of that sound familiar in any way?