Tag Archives: World War II

Sailor in iconic picture passes away…

Yesterday news came that George Mendonsa, the sailor pictured in this iconic World War II (or, more specifically, end of World War II) picture and presented on Life magazine, had passed away at the age of 95…

Image result for life magazine wwii kiss photo

The woman in the picture, Greta Zimmer Friedman, had passed away at 92 in 2016. The two did not know each other and Mr. Mendonsa grabbed and kissed the woman, a dental technician, without her consent.

That’s right, he grabbed a random woman, pulled her up to him, and planted a kiss on her.

I know the image is iconic, I know it has been used to show, in visual form, the ecstasy of the moment in Times Square when WWII was officially over and celebrations over that fact ran throughout the nation.

However, what we have here is a woman, against her will, being grabbed and kissed. Later on and when interviewed, Ms. Friedman stated: “It wasn’t my choice to be kissed”. Just like that, this iconic image feels… I dunno… wrong.

For years and before the story behind this picture was reported, I figured the two knew each other and they both shared in this celebratory kiss. When I discovered otherwise…

Look, I understand Mr. Mendonsa, as most military personnel and civilians, was thrilled war was over and they would not experience battle.

Yet what he did here… it simply wasn’t right. I wouldn’t want to be out on the streets, minding my own business, when someone (male, female… its irrelevant) grabs me and forcibly plants a kiss on my face… or worse.

I suspect not many people would.

It certainly mars what was, at one point, a seemingly delightful picture that came to signify the elation of a nation at the end of a brutal war.

Living World War II veterans…

Found this chart over on reddit.  It was produced by the US Census department…

As the chart states, this is the number of living World War II veterans from 1960 to 2016.

World War II officially ended in 1945 so if you were an 18 year old at that time, by 1960 you were around 33 years old.  This is, of course, assuming the youngest age for conscription, though there were people who lied about their age to join the army!

By 1970 you were 43.  By 1980 you were around 53 years old.  By 1990, you were around 63.  By the turn of the Century, the year 2000, you were 73.

By 2010, you were in/around 83 years of age.

By 2016 and the end of this particular census, the youngest recruit, again assuming they were in/around 18 years of age in 1945, was now in/around 89 years of age.

Add two more years to get us to 2018 and you’re now talking about this individual being in/around 90/91 years of age.

And, again, we’re talking about recruits/veterans who were at the very youngest age possible in 1945, the year the war ended.

Once again one can’t help but be confronted with what is the ultimate reality of life: Time marches on for everyone.

When I was in High School, there were approximately 12 million WWII veterans still alive.  Today, there are less than a million.

My brother-in-law’s father was a WWII veteran and he passed away a few years back at the age of 96.

Soon, too soon, there will be no more veterans of that world wide conflict left alive and one can’t help but be saddened by that reality.

As I said before, time marches on.  For everyone.