November 25, 2008
Iconic LIFE photo – Times Square VJ Day
For years, their identities have been in question. Now Edith Shain (90) has been officially identified as the nurse. Although the sailor hasn’t officially been identified, I read an explanation by a man who said the strange grasp he had on the nurse was because he knew they were being photographed and he wanted to keep her face visible.
The photo was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt on August 14, 1945. Shein had contacted him in 1980, but he was certain it wasn’t her – even after he saw her in person. I’m not sure why they couldn’t use what the FBI uses to estimate height in videos. She’s 4’9″.
Photo/ Alfred Eisenstaedt
Her recollection CNN:
SHAIN: I went from Doctors Hospital to Times Square that day because the war was over, and where else does a New Yorker go?
And this guy grabbed me and we kissed, and then I turned one way and he turned the other. There was no way to know who he was, but I didn’t mind because he was someone who had fought for me.
As for the pictures. It says so many things – hope, love, peace and tomorrow.
The end of the war was a wonderful experience, and that photo represents all those feelings.
I’ll see if I can find something about the sailor. I know I read or saw it somewhere.
UPDATE: I found the sailor. His name is Glenn McDuffie. According to a (8-4-2007) Oakland Tribune article by AP’s JUAN A LOZANO, McDuffie was 18 at the time and was changing trains when he heard Japan had surrendered. He said the kiss “was prompted by the realization that his older brother, W.D., would soon be coming home from a Japanese prison camp.”
So he ran out into the street, saw the nurse and kissed her. He realized someone was taking a photo, which is why he held her that strange way so her face could be seen. And they both said the same thing – they went their separate ways without an exchanged word.
Alfred Eisenstaedt died in 1995 ,not convinced that he had found either of them even though both Shein and McDuffie had met him in person.
Houston Police Department forensic artist Lois Gibson, who has identified more suspects than any other forensic artist, said she was sure it was him just from looking at him. But she did a detailed investigation measuring his ears, facial bones, hairline, wrist, knuckles and hand using his sailor’s cap as reference. She then made him pose in his uniform using a pillow for the nurse. She concluded definitively that it was him. He even passed a lie detector test. And the fact he had an explanation for the contorted pose and that they had not spoken a word should close the deal. Not sure why he wasn’t included in the CNN story.
He had lung cancer when this story was written so I don’t know if he is still alive. Couldn’t find anything on his death.
It was a good kiss. It was a wet kiss… Someone asked me if it was a tongue kiss. I said, ‘No tongue, but it was a nice kiss.’
You decide. I’m convinced by the hairline, nose and square hand. (There was a different pix here originally where you could see them.)
Why would they make such things up – and how could they both know they just walked away without a word?
Mr McDuffie looks like he’s ready to do it again!
Glenn McDuffie, left, has fought for years to prove he was the sailor who kissed Edith Shain, right, that day in New York.