Scores have claimed to be nurse, sailor kissing in Times Square on VJ Day

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The photograph of a sailor kissing a surprised nurse in Times Square remains, 60 years later, an iconic image of the day World War II ended. But who are they?

Sunday is VJ Day, the 60th anniversary of the U.S. victory over Japan that ended World War II. And while it’s nearly impossible to think of that day without also thinking of the famous Life Magazine photo of that celebratory kiss in New York’s Time Square, it is possible — for just a few people — to know exactly, and personally, what that kiss meant.

The backstory has been well-chronicled: giddy Times Square was everywhere-in-America that day and Life Magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstadt clicked his shutter to record a perfect image — a sailor sweeping a nurse into his arms so pristinely as to suggest not sex, but relief and happiness beyond words, and surrender even among strangers to the sweetness and power of human kinship.

“It’s our favorite picture,” says Life Deputy Managing Editor Robert Sullivan, “It’s our most popular picture, because it’s a happy picture”.

But “Eisie” wasn’t taking notes that day, and, over the decades there’ve been scores who’ve claimed to be the nurse and the sailor.

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