Monday, August 9, 2010
A kiss immortalized in August 14, 1945
Photo from Wikipedia: Kissing the War Goodbye
Above is the lesser known photo taken by Lt. Victor Jorgensen of a sailor kissing a passing nurse on VJ Day in Times Square.
The most famous and iconic picture of this same subject - VJ Day in Times Square - taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt, was published in LIFE in 1945 with the caption, In New York's Times Square a white-clad girl clutches her purse and skirt as an uninhibited sailor plants his lips squarely on hers.
August 14, 1945 in New York City was a magical moment - a confluence of history, a place, and everyday people. Soldiers were returning home from an intense four years of fighting when President Truman announced Victory in Japan (VJ Day) - the end of the American involvement in World War II.
In Times Square, the sailors paraded in joy for they had won! On the street, civilians came out to the streets from their shops, the hospitals, to savor this moment of victory. Then a sailor, caught up in the passion, kissed a surprised young nurse, who was stopped in mid stride as two photographers, Lt. Jorgenson, an American sailor, and Alfred Eisenstaedt, a German-American photojournalist for LIFE magazine, snapped this spontaneous moment.
Eisenstaedt, whose photo made it into LIFE, ironically had fought on the side of Germany in World War I. He later photographed a meeting between Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in Italy before emigrating to US to escape Nazi oppression in 1935 .
But who were the subjects of Jorgenson's and Eisenstaedt's iconic photo?
The nurse was Edith Shain and here is the story:
The greatest generation, like Edith Shain who passed away this June 2010, is fading into history. The new generation taking their place is greatly in debt to their sacrifce.
When our nation was born, the writers of the Declaration of Independence finished "with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."
So did many, who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II, carried the Spirit of 1776 to the Spirit of 1945. May our generation carry the Spirit of 1776 and 1945 in 2010 and beyond.
From nydailynews.com: Edith Shain, nurse whose V-J kiss with sailor in Times Square immortalized in Life photo, dies at 91
From YouTube.com: Photo of iconic kiss reenacted