Recently – and sadly – Navy veteran and member of the “Greatest Generation,” Glenn McDuffie died.

This would not have been any more newsworthy than the passing of many WWII veterans every day. However, as this USA article notes.

Glenn McDuffi was considered by many to be Kissing Sailor in Alfred Eisenstaedt’s world-famous V-J Day, 1945 photograph. That was news. However, as we detail in our U.S. Naval Institute book, The Kissing Sailor, Mr. McDuffie is not the sailor in the famous Life photo. George Mendonsa is.

The kissing sailor and white dressed woman in Eisenstaedt’s V-J Day, 1945, in Times Square still walk amongst us. And while the scene they created appears so familiar to most, we know far too little. Against all the odds, and with fate’s forces at their back, two strangers traversed a triumphant world’s most popular square on the day that history’s most destructive war ended. Without rehearsal or intent, they communicated what the climax of a victorious war felt like. The particulars of that saga inspire the human spirit. Proof of their part in that iconic photo persuades the inquisitive. Treatment of their claims upsets the fair-minded. Forces well beyond their control have denied them their due far too long. Their story, most worthy of the celebrated begs telling.

The search for the kissing sailor is not our exclusive undertaking. Some of the findings fall short of breaking news. What we add to the discussion, while considerable, always existed for consideration. Well over a half-century ago a photographer and his Leica camera made plainly visible almost everything needed to make a positive identification of the kissing sailor. All one had to do is look. Really look. Not just watch.

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