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Edith Shain’s last kiss (R.I.P.)

Since it was published in Life magazine to mark the end of World War II, this iconic photo of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square on V-J day is one of those unrehearsed pieces of Americana ingrained in the Greatest Generation, its children and grandchildren.

For decades, the stars of this photo were unknown, until Edith Shain wrote to photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt ane and admitted that she was the Lady in White.

In telling her story, she said she just headed over from her job at Doctors Hospital to Times Square to celebrate the war being over, and this unknown sailor just came up, smooched her, and they parted ways for the rest of their lives. The sailor in the photo never came forward. Maybe his wife back home would have smacked him silly if she knew it was him. Who knows.

Edith used her fame to attend veterans events and was still out in public in April celebrating her status as an icon of the war. On Sunday, Edith passed away at age 91, leaving behind three sons, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

I hope Edith had a life filled with joy. I hope the sailor did, too – whomever he is.

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