One the day that World War II was declared won by the Allied forces, the streets of NY overflowed with celebration, and in one iconic moment, a single image came to define that victory and ebullition.
Friedman told CNN that his mother died at an assisted living home in Richmond, Virginia.
In the 2012 book, “The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo that Ended World War II” the author, Lawrence Verria, was able to prove that Friedman and Mendonsa were indeed the couple.
Unbeknownst to either, noted Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captured the moment, and published it a few weeks later.
Eisenstaedt, a photojournalist who produced more than 2,500 picture stories and 90 covers for Life, did not have a definitive record of the man and woman in the photo.
For years, the couple in the photograph by Life Magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, taken on the evening of August 14, 1945, after the news of Japan’s surrender was broadcast, were unknown.
In a way, her exuberance was a reason for what happened: Friedman, who was a dental assistant but was thought over the years to be a nurse because of her uniform, had been at work when she heard rumors that the war was over. In fact, the sailor’s future wife, Rita Mendonsa, can be seen grinning above his shoulder in the photograph. News of Japan’s surrender broke while they were watching a movie.
Friedman landed in New York City.
He grabbed Zimmer, a grinning Petry looking on, kissed her, and continued on.
Mendonsa, now lives in Newport, Rhode Island. She met Friedman, a doctor, and they married in 1956.
Many people claimed to be the embracing couple caught in a clinch, but it was only in the 1980s that the true identity of Friedman and Mendosa became public.
Friedman did not shy away from the photo or her role in it, her son said, adding that he said he believed she understood the argument that it was an assault but did not necessarily view it that way.
“(But) she didn’t assign any bad motives to George in that circumstance, that situation, that time”.