First & foremost we remember Veterans Day with prayers & love to the Veterans & their families that sacrificed so much for this country.
So many came forward to say they were the couple in the most famous & iconic VJ Day Kissing Photo, but they were impostors. The identities of the smooching sailor & the nurse in Alfred Eisenstaedt’s Times Square VJ Day photograph have finally been determined.
Navy Sailor Quartermaster George Mendonsa was on leave from the Pacific Theater & on a date with his future wife Rita Petry at Radio City Music Hall. When suddenly the show stopped & someone started yelling "THE WAR IS OVER & THE JAPANESE HAVE SURRENDERED."
George & Rita left the show & every bar was pouring free drinks as they made their way to Times Square. George a bit inebriated grabbed the first nurse he saw, spun her around, dipped her & kissed her. Rita was just steps behind them & in the photo she’s beaming just over George's right shoulder. Why did he kiss another woman? Because he thought she was a WWII nurse & felt a kinship because of the ending of the war. She actually was a 21 year old dental nurse named Greta Zimmer from Queens & refugee from Austria.
Today, Greta Zimmer Friedman lives in Frederick, Md. After the war, she learned that her parents had died in the camps & she has never returned to Austria. George & Rita now married for 66 years, live in Rhode Island, where a copy of the famous photo hangs in their hallway & another downstairs. George says he’d never hang it if his wife didn’t approve “She’s the boss!” After all, George says, “I’m still kissing Rita.”
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We Honor Those That
Sacrificed Their Lives, Lyndy Ward