The kiss that celebrates the end of World War 2 is now a giant statue in San Diego’s waterfront. The iconic black and white photograph taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt in New York City’s Times Square comes to life in a 20-foot bronze sculpture, aptly known as “Unconditional Surrender”. It’s designed by Seward Johnson.
Also known as “Victory Kiss”, the statue stands right next to the USS Midway Ship turned into a museum. You can’t miss it—and don’t miss it.
The “Kissing Statue” is that of a nurse and a sailor.
Both have never met or known each other when the kiss happened.
Or even after that.
With all the victory celebrations around Times Square, the photographer forgot to ask their names.
Life Magazine was the first to publish the photo, along with other photos of celebrations of Victory over Japan.
Though captured at the perfect moment, the “couple’s” faces were not clearly visible.
Thus, the identity of the kissers were a mystery that lasted many years to solve.
In the late 1970’s the first woman came out to claim to be the nurse in the photo.
Then, there were two more women—each had a story to tell.
There were 11 men who claimed to be the sailor.
They, too, have their own account of how the photograph was taken.
Then, on August 3, 2008 (63 years after the photo was taken) the long search for the sailor’s identity ended.
Glen McDuffie was recognized as “The Sailor” on his 81st birthday.
As to the real identity of the nurse in the statue?
No one is certain yet.
The first woman, Edith Shain, who claimed to be the nurse died in 2010.
Her claim was rebuffed by two authors who said that her height is insufficient in comparison to the men who claimed to be the sailor.
And so the search for the real nurse continues.