Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Kiss a Vet or Let a Vet Kiss YOU!
That's what happened to Edith Shain when she was a young Navy nurse many, many years ago. She was stationed in New York City on Aug. 15, 1945 when it was announced that Japan had surrendered and the war was over.
Like everyone else she rushed to Times Square to join the celebration and was grabbed by a handsome young sailor who 'planted one on her'. This image was captured by a photographer from LIFE magazine on that day and has become an iconic picture of that era.
Edith, who currently lives in Los Angeles, is now 90 years old. "I went from Doctors Hospital to Times Square that day because the war was over, and where else does a New Yorker go?" she said. "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."
This year Edith will be Grand Marshal of New York's Veteran's Day Parade in Times Square. In honor of the observance, she was treated to a reprise of the old Broadway musical South Pacific. At the end of the show, the "sailors" in the cast brought Edith onstage and recreated that famous kiss.
"As for the picture," she says, "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."
American flags are flying everywhere today in honor of our veterans and we should remember their sacrifices. With a war on two fronts we must look forward to caring for our soldiers when they eventually come home.
There's been a lot of controversy over the past few years about our current wars but whether you agree with our policies or not, we own these brave people respect, health care and college educations if they should choose. They've done their duties and gone where they were sent. We must honor them AND their families, who also sacrifice so much.