By APB Staff Writer
Friday, August 15, 2015: New York NY: It is considered the most famous kiss in American history!
During a jubilant V-J Day celebration on August 15, 1945 in the center of Times Square, photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt captured an image, now ingrained in pop culture, which defined an era: an American sailor kissing a women in a white dress who appeared to be a nurse, moments after the announcement of Japan’s surrender in World War II.
Amid the hectic festivities on that day, Eisenstaedt did not have the opportunity to ascertain the names and details of his subjects who would grace the cover of Life magazine the following week. Many have claimed to be the sailor and his girl – including George Mendonsa and Greta Zimmer whose asservation is documented in the book The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo that Ended World War II – but the true identities are lost to history.
Regardless of who was kissing whom – every five years on the anniversary of the end of World War II, the Times Square Alliance and Keep the Spirit of ‘45 host a joyous “Kiss-In” event wherein scores of locals, tourists, and passers-by re-enact the renowned “lip lock” just south of 45th Street looking north where Broadway and Seventh Avenue coverage.
On August 15, 2015, seventy years to the day beneath Seward Johnson’s twenty-five foot sculpture of the illustrious “buss” entitled “Embracing Peace,” couples of all ages and nationalities recreated the amorous gesture while hundreds of onlookers took their own “Kiss” shots on digital cameras and mobile phones.
Several Kiss-In participants were adorned in Navy and nurses outfits as 1940s big band music blared throughout the “Crossroads of the World.” The first 200 participants were given sailors caps and roses – and were seen dancing in the streets akin to New Yorkers revelling peace and victory all those years ago.