The famous kiss in Time Square

In 1945 in Times Square a photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captured a photo when a sailor, overjoyed because of the end of the Second World War, kissed a beautiful nurse. This photo, called “V-J Day in Times Square” became one of the most famous photos of all time and a symbol of euphoria that swept America that day. Let’s trace its history and the fate of the heroes of the image.

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.

V-J Day in Times Square
Source:, photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt

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)…

George Mendonca and Greta Friedman in Rhode Island, 2009
Source: Josh23, Wikimedia Commons

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.


Unconditional Surrender
Source: Prayitno,

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.

14 August 2015 year, the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender, the famous kiss was repeated at Times Square:

Source Wikipedia Dailymail

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