Edith Shain - Nurse in the "War is Over" Picture

Two months before her death, at age 91, Edith Shain tells her story about the time an unknown sailor kissed her.  To this day, the photo of that moment (captured by Alfred Eisenstaedt) is one of the most famous images of VJ (Victory over Japan) Day - August 14, 1945.

Americans, like Shain, were celebrating the news that Japan was ready to surrender (thereby ending World War II).  Soldiers and sailors, on the streets of American cities, began kissing every girl they could. 

Edith, in New York's Times Square, happened to be one of them.

Who was the sailor?  

Several men made the claim, but a forensic artist who works with the Houston Police Department believes she made a match with Glenn McDuffie.  After taking around 100 photos of the Houston resident, and comparing those pictures with Eisenstaedt's famous photo, Lois Gibson is certain about her conclusion.  The Houston Chronicle tells us why she is so sure:

Gibson, who has done numerous reconstructions of crime victims’ faces using only a skull, carefully studied the bone structure of all 11 men who claimed to be the sailor before concluding the man in the photo was McDuffie.

After taking precise measurements of McDuffie’s wrists, knuckles, arms, forehead and ears, Gibson compared them to enlargements of the famous photo. To replicate the image, Gibson had McDuffie pose embracing a pillow, a substitute for the nurse.

She said Friday [March 14, 2014] that McDuffie didn’t want a real-life stand in for the nurse.

“I was able to eliminate all the others based on their foreheads, or the superciliary arch — where the eyebrows are,” she said.

McDuffie died on March 9, 2014.  He was 86 years old.

Media Credits

Clip of an interview with Edith Shain, recorded on April 19, 2010 at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville.  The event was part of a Celebration of the "Spirit of '45."  Video online, courtesy Napa Valley Museum.



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"Edith Shain - Nurse in the "War is Over" Picture" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jul 16, 2018.
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