The two main characters in the image are the then student of dentistry Greta Friedman and sailor George Mendosa. At first glance, the scene presents their romantic kiss, but nothing could be more wrong – Greta did not know George until that moment. When the surrender of Japan was announced, the sailor was in Times Square on a date with his future wife, Rita.
Being a after a few drinks and happy because of the Japan’s surrender, George grabbed the beautiful student and stole her a long kiss. As Greta mentioned later, she was not too pleased with the situation and did not return the kiss (probably slapped the sailor)…
For decades, the identity of Greta and George remained undetermined, and in addition many people falsely identified themselves as one of the people in the photo. It was only in the 80s of the twentieth century with the help of the scientific analysis of the photographs confirmed the names of the kissing couple. Similarly, there were attempts to determine the exact time the photo was taken, because Eisenstaedt did not remember exactly when it was caught. Scientist Donald W. Olson basing of the arrangement of the sun’s rays in the scene determined the moment of making the photography at 17:51 PM.
George and Greta met later times, mostly for parades and other ceremonies for which they were invited. 67 years after making the memorable photo they appeared again in Times Square. In their honor there were created a series of monuments, called “Unconditional Surrender”. Greta Friedman died on September 8, 2016 in Richmond, Virginia.