Edith Shain


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Edith Shain, who claimed to be the nurse who was smooched by a sailor in Times Square in the famous Life magazine photograph marking the end of World War II, has died. She was 91.

Shain died Sunday at her home in Los Angeles of liver cancer, said her son, Michael Shain, of Conifer, Colo.

Another son, Robert Shain of Malibu, said his mother had just gotten off her shift at a hospital when she and a friend took the subway to Times Square on Aug. 15, 1945, to join a celebration of what became known as V-J Day (short for Victory over Japan).

The enduring photo shows a sailor in a dark uniform kissing a white-uniformed nurse he has bent backward in a clinch. Their faces are partially obscured.

The photo was snapped by Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt but he never got the names of the sailor and nurse, and Life's effort years later to identify the woman produced several claimants.

Shain said she never got the sailor's name, either.

"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 in 2008, when she donned a white nurse's uniform again and was grand marshal of New York's Veterans Day parade. "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."

"As for the picture," she said, "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."

After the war, Shain moved to California, where she continued nursing at night but also was a kindergarten teacher in Los Angeles for 30 years.

She attended Memorial Day parades around the country and was scheduled to be in Times Square in August for a celebration of V-J Day, Michael Shain said.

She also visited veterans homes and made a point of teaching youngsters about the war.

"She felt a real connection to the World War II veterans that were still alive. She did a lot to help memorialize their stories," Michael Shain said. "She was very concerned that our current generation didn't know enough ... about the WWII veterans and their generation."

"She saw her celebrity as a way to keep reminding people of the great sacrifices that we made during World War II," he said.

Shain was born in Tarrytown, N.Y., on July 29, 1918.

In addition to Michael and Robert, Shain is survived by her son Justin Decker of Los Angeles, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press

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"May the God of comfort, who comfort us in all our trials bring you comfort at this time."(2Cor.1:3,4)

I was lucky enough to meet Edith in Evansville Indiana at the Casino Aztar she was there doing a marketing event. I was sad that i was unable to get a photo of her with me, the security guard had taken my camera with there being no photography aloud in the casino and so a photo was not able to be taken. I will always remember that event and meeting Edith it was super special to me with my grandfather being a sailor during that time. Gretchen Smith (Fountain City, Indiana)

God bless you Edith & may you rest in peace.

May God Bless you Edith.

God bless you and your family! YOur mom lived a long, prosperous life. My son is a Navy sailor now and he makes me very proud. Kim in Arizona

Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss.As a nurse and teacher I know Edith gave of herself in a wonderful way. May her memories of dedication and love forever live in your hearts and may the God of comfort be with you. 2Corinthians 1:3&4.

A picture is worth a thousand words, The photograph has inspired generations of women and men. It says volumes about hope, courage, gratefulness and the wonder of life.
She is immortal here and in eternity.

"May the peace of God that excels all thought guard your hearts and mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.Phil:4,7

I simply love this picture and all it stands for. Even better that the kiss was so spontaneous and Edith didn't know who the sailor was nor that the kiss was coming! Delightful...