- Apr 21, 2016
On August 14, 1945, sailor George Mendonsa was in New York on leave from his Navy destroyer. He had a date that afternoon, his first date with a young lady named Rita Petry. They took in a show at Radio City Music Hall, but the show was interrupted by a crowd from the street... banging on the theater doors, shouting that the war with Japan was over. The young couple ran into the street, hit up a few bars, and soon found themselves in Times Square.
Giddy from the news, and assisted by the booze, George Mendonsa grabbed a passing nurse and planted upon her lips the 20th century's most iconic smooch. The nurse, Greta Zimmer Friedman, described the moment years later... "It wasn't really that much of a kiss." LOL.
George Mendonsa passed away last Sunday, two days before his 96th birthday. Rita Petry, his date that day in New York, did not get "The Kiss" but she did get the sailor... 70 years of marriage.