It was first published in Life Magazine in 1945, and it has gone on to become an iconic image of victory at the end of World War Two. In a picture, a sailor holds a nurse in his hands, dips her, and gives her a deep, long kiss. It must have been a good one, too. The woman looks like she’s practically melting in his arms. This took place in Times Square in New York City, right after announcements that Japan had officially surrendered, the and bloodiest war in human history was now something for the history books.
For a long time, the identities of the two smoochers remained unknown. The sailor was a guy named George Mendonsa. He was on a first date with his future wife-to-be. Only, his girlfriend isn’t the one he kissed in the picture. She actually watched. Her date, George, after hearing the news, rush up the first nurse he saw and planted the now iconic kiss. Was his date angry? Oddly enough, no. George was swept with the memory of nurses and acted impulsively. The woman in the picture actually didn’t want to be kissed in the first place. However, the real story doesn’t live up to people’s imaginations.
This photo has lived on as part of “Americana.” Just like Marilyn Monroe’s fluttering skirt, it has turned up in Changzhou. Xinbei’s new Risesun Manhattan Plaza has a statue of the sailor and the nurse. Marilyn is clearly visible from the street, but the kissing couple takes a bit of walking to find. It’s located on the side of shopping center where storefronts still remain empty. There is also still a construction barricade on the other side.