Bidding Farewell To Iconic Kissing Sailor

A Vintage Nerd, Vintage Blog, Kissing Sailor Photo, Vintage Photography, WWII Photos

Some photos become iconic because of the powerful messages they convey. Many years can pass on and still that photo can speak to us.

One such photo is the one taken in Time Square in New York City on August 14th, 1945 by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt and was published by Life Magazine a week later. Eisenstaedt was not able to get the names of his subjects from that day because of all the excitement of V-J Day so it took many years to finally find the infamous sailor and his nurse.

Fast forward a few decades and the search for the kissing couple ensued.

For years Glenn McDuffie told stories to his daughter Glenda Bell stories of how he kissed a nurse all those years ago and that he was indeed that famous sailor. Through a forensic artist McDuffie was pronounced as the real deal after comparing the measurements of his face and hands with the older McDuffie. After it was confirmed that he was indeed the sailor he spent his later years posing for photos and doing airshows. Everyone wanted to meet the iconic kissing sailor!

Born on May 31, 1927, McDuffie served in the US Navy during WWII. He was changing trains trying to get to his girlfriend who lived in Brooklyn when he heard that Japan surrendered. He was so happy that when he saw a nurse hollering and waving, he immediately scooped her up and kissed her. He claims that his left hand was in a fist because he feared her boyfriend would be around.

Edith Shain was the woman in the nurses uniform. She passed on at the age of 91 in 2010. You can read more about her story HERE. At the end of the day, if McDuffie is the real sailor or not or if Edith Shain was the real nurse in that photo or not-it doesn't matter. As Edith Shain put it, "It (the photo) says so many things. Hope, love, peace and tomorrow.”

He passed away this March 9th from a heart attack at the age of 86. Rest in peace dear sir.

You can read more about Glenn McDuffie HERE and HERE.

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  1. What a moment captured in time, some things are just meant to be.

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  3. Excellently said, dear Daffny. I couldn't agree more. What this image symbolizes - both for America and the whole world - is ultimately more important that knowing 100% who was in it or not.

    ♥ Jessica


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