The woman photographed with the sailor on Aug. 14, 1945, at the end of WWII, Greta Zimmer Friedman died on Thursday. She was 92.
The photo "The Kiss" represents how Americans felt on that wonderful day so many years ago. The picture was printed on the front page of LIFE magazine.
Japan surrendered to end World War II the day the picture was shot in Times Square, while people celebrated the end of the worst war Americans had ever seen, with dancing in the streets, drinking, and yes, kissing.
What's most interesting about this picture and what many people don't know is that the sailor and the nurse had never met before. The sailor, George Mendonsa saw Greta Zimmer Friedman, he swirled her up into his arms and kissed her.
Friedman admitted she was the woman in the picture in 2005 and agreed to be interviewed. “It wasn’t that much of a kiss. It was just somebody celebrating. It wasn’t a romantic event.”
The photograph is one of the 20th centuries most famous. So filled with free-spirited enthusiasm and euphoria.
"It was the moment. You come back from the Pacific, and finally, the war ends," said George Mendonsa
Alfred Eisenstaedt, a world famous photographer took four pictures of the couple within a few seconds.
"The excitement of the war being over, plus I had a few drinks," George explains. " ... So when I saw the nurse, I grabbed her, and I kissed her."
"You don't forget this guy grabbing you!" Greta said.
George had no clue the picture had been captured for eternity.
He had been on a date with another girl who was also a nurse, he later married her.
They never met again till Life magazine asked them to reveal themselves. A friend of George's noticed the picture in LIFE magazine.
"He says, 'I know it's you,"' George remembers. "I said, 'You're crazy!' This was 1980, 35 years after the war ended. ... So he brought the magazine over to the house and, the minute I looked at it, I said, 'Damn. That IS me!"'
That was the first time George ever laid eyes on the photo.
Friedman is survived by her son, daughter, sister, Belle Hoffman, and two grandchildren. Friedman will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, next to her late husband, Dr. Misha Friedman.