George Mendonsa has died and you’re forgiven if the name doesn’t ring a bell. For a number of years, we only knew him by one moment on V-J day.
The photo was published in Life a week after the surrender of the Japanese in World War II.
But photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt failed to ask an important question: what are your names?
So for years, the identity of Mendonsa and Greta Zimmer Friedman was a mystery.
Mendonsa says Friedman reminded him of nurses on a hospital ship that he saw care for wounded sailors.
“I saw what those nurses did that day and now back in Times Square the war ends, a few drinks, so I grabbed the nurse,” Mendonsa said in 2005.
Friedman was working as a dental assistant and stepped outside in Times Square to see what all the commotion was.
“It wasn’t my choice to be kissed,” Friedman told the New York Times years later. “The guy just came over and grabbed!”
She was 92 when she died in 2016.
As for George, he was on a date at the time he launched his kiss. That’s her over his right shoulder.
Whatever happened to her?
She married George.