One of the most iconic photos in history is the one of the sailor kissing a woman in Times Square to celebrate the end of World War 2 in 1945. Sadly, that sailor died on Sunday. Today would have been his 96th birthday.
His name was GEORGE MENDONSA, and he was on leave at the time, after a stint in the Pacific. He was actually on a first date with one Rita Petry . . . who would later become his WIFE . . . when the news broke that the war was over.
Everyone started drinking and celebrating in the streets. That’s when he saw GRETA FRIEDMAN, who he thought was a nurse. In an interview a few years ago, George said, quote, “We’re all drinking and raising hell . . . it was just plain instinct, I guess. I just grabbed her.”
His date didn’t even care. She said, quote, “I was in the background, grinning like a mutt. It didn’t matter to me.” They married in 1946, and were together until his death.
Greta didn’t mind either. She said, quote, “Suddenly, I was grabbed by a sailor. It wasn’t that much of a kiss. It was more of a jubilant act that he didn’t have to go back.”
The girl from the photo died in 2016. She was 92.