Black-and-white images of decades past have always been a subject of interest of most people. Such is the case in the World War II-era photograph immortalizing the famous victory kiss briefly shared between a sailor and a nurse in a festive moment in Times Square, NY circa 1945 after Japan surrendered, signaling the end of the war.
There have been many theories, claims, and controversies surrounding the famous picture taken by Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt on August 14, 1945. A handful of WWII veterans and nurses have come forward in the recent decades claiming the identity of the couple in the photo, leading historians, photography experts, and forensic artists to investigate and study the picture closer for proper identification of the subjects.
The sailor in the photo
Glenn McDuffie, a WWII veteran, was one of those who claimed to be the sailor in the Times Square photo. After much investigation and an extensive forensic study six years ago which involved taking about a hundred shots of McDuffie posing as the sailor in the photo, Houston Police Department forensic artist Lois Gibson was able to match his features and finally identify him as the young man giving the nurse the famous kiss.
The sailor’s death
Earlier this month, the Associated Press was informed that the famous Pearl Harbor statue character, Glenn McDuffie, died in a Dallas nursing home. His daughter, Glenda Bell, said that his father died on March 9. He was 86. From being a WWII veteran to a semi-professional baseball player and mail carrier, it was evident that McDuffie lived a full life.
Due to its popularity and significance in American history, huge statues were built later on resembling the Times Square Victory Kiss. Sculptor Seward Johnson named the series of statues Unconditional Surrender and worked on Styrofoam, aluminum, and bronze versions of the couple. The statues were displayed in different locations: at the bay front of Sarasota, Florida, in Tuna Harbor Park in San Diego, and in Hamilton, New Jersey.
Perhaps the most significant and historic location where Unconditional Surrender was displayed was at Pearl Harbor, the site where it all started. In August 2011, the statue was displayed at Battleship Missouri in honor of the 66th anniversary of WWII’s end.
Through the years, the statue has been a staple in tourists’ itineraries of places to visit in Hawaii. Many tourists book Pearl Harbor tours in hopes of having their photo taken in front of the world-famous statue. If you want to have a first-hand look at the kissing couple and also tour historic Pearl Harbor sites on your vacation, Pearl Harbor Website offers several Group tour packages and Private tour packages for you to choose from. With a private VIP tour of the historic site, you’ll not only get to see the Unconditional Surrender statues, but also WWII battleships and memorials.
Check our pages to find out more about our tour packages or call us for reservations.