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An Iconic Kiss

Naval Institute Press.

This segment originally aired on June 5, 2012

It’s a photo you’ve seen before – a sailor kissing a woman in a white nurse’s uniform in the middle of Times Square.  It was August 14, 1945 – V-J Day, moments just after Japan’s surrender had been announced. The picture was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt, and it ended up on the cover of Life magazine.  It became one of the most famous photos of the 20th century.

Eisenstaedt didn’t get the name of the people in the photo, and their identities have been mysteries for years.

A book called "The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo that Ended World War II," identifies the couple as George Mendonsa, who now lives in Middletown, Rhode Island, and Greta Friedman, who’s here in Maryland, in Frederick.

Sheilah Kast talked with both of them in the spring of 2012. They are both in their 90's now. She asked them about how that moment in Times Square came about–and what it signified to them about the end of World War II. 

But first, a conversation with the authors of the book, Larry Verria and George Galdorisi. 

You can see more pictures of Greta Friedman and George Mendonsa here.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Jamyla Krempel is WYPR's digital content director and the executive producer of Wavelength: Baltimore's Public Radio Journey. She collaborates with reporters, program and podcast hosts to create content for WYPR’s online platforms.