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Kissing sailor of WWII dies, famous iconic photo lives on

People gather beneath a 26-foot statue inspired by the iconic kiss between a nurse and a sailor in Times Square August 12, 2010 in New York City
Mario Tama/Getty Images

On March 14, the alleged kissing sailor, Glenn McDuffie, forever immortalized in an iconic photo from 1945 in the magazine Life, died of natural causes at the age of 86 in Texas, according to numerous sources. He was accredited with kissing a nurse upon learning of the Japanese surrender in WWII.

McDuffie’s photo was included in Life’s magazine to celebrate V-J Day, the term given on the day the Japanese surrendered in WWII. The photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt captured the intense moment of McDuffie when he learned of the surrender, followed by kissing the nurse in Times Square.

The couple in the photo cannot be verified but the Houston Police Department’s forensic artist supports the claim and concluded in 2007 that McDuffie is the kissing sailor in the famous photo. Several individuals claimed to be the man and woman in the photo but none of the claims could be verified.

According to the U.S. Naval Institute, George Mendonsa was the kissing WWII sailor in the photo and the nurse he kissed was Greta Zimmer. Zimmer was a dental assistant at the time the photo was taken.

Whether the kissing sailor was McDuffie or Mendonsa, it can be agreed upon that the photo portrays more than just a kiss; it epitomizes a shared embrace of a couple receiving 'good' news during 'bad' times.

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