Saturday there was a huge kiss-in in Times Square to commemorate the 65 anniversary of V-J Day which marked the end of WWII.  Couples came to the famous spot and recreated this special kiss seen below.  The kiss not only marked the end of the war with Japan but also signified the end of all hostilities in WWII since victory had been achieved in Europe several months early with the surrender of Germany. 


Perhaps the most famous picture of the end of The War, The Kiss, offers a glimpse into a world that the rest of us are closed off to.  It was a world that believed that total surrender was possible.  It was a world that didn’t know what an atomic blast did to others, And it was a world that knew nothing of the cold war that loomed on our horizon.  It was a world where the word ‘over’ meant OVER.

The lady in the kiss was Edith Shain who died at the age of 91 last June.  The couple didn’t know each other.  It was kiss to celebrate the past 4 years being over. Done.  The American people had suffered.  They had been rationed.  They had grown victory gardens.  They had done without.  They had lived with the constant fear that they could be invaded.  Their loved ones had been lost, maimed, killed. 

Approximately 417,000 American service men (and women) were killed in WWII.  That number is out of a national population of approximately 131 million.  


While our number killed looks staggering, other countries dwarf ours.  Japan lost over 2 million military men.  China 3-4 million.  The Soviet Union  lost as many as 10 million.  German lost 5.5 million.  After watching series like Pacific,  Flags of our Fathers and Wind Talkers  it is truly amazing that anyone survived.  There were 20,00 Americans casualties  in the battle of Iwo Jima alone which just looked like a rock pile to most folks.

A permanent statue 25 feet tall  of the kiss was erected in Times Square.  There are just some things that cannot be recreated.  And there will probably never be another time when Americans pull together towards a common cause like WWII.

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13 Thoughts to “It’s Finally Over –65 years later”

  1. It was a racist colonialist war that white people call “the good war” because they ignore racism and colonialism when they perceive it to serve their self interest.

    The photo above says it all. This photo has been celebrated by whites for generations.

    But what if the man in the photo had been black?

    Would the cameraman have turned away and refused to snap the photo just like the camaramen on Iwo Jima refused to film the black soldiers who were struggling and dying on the beach?

    And what about all those pretty, smiling white Males you identify with in the photo? Most likely, all those smiling white males in the photo would have immediately grabbed him and beat him up for trying to rape a white woman.

    And how would the woman in the photo have reacted if the man had been black? Is there any doubt that she would have cried RAPE!

    You ignore black and brown truth because you can. And you can because you are an over-privileged white princess.

  2. MH, you are a VERY good writer and researcher. You need to get published 🙂

  3. Thank you very much Pinko. Not such a good editor, however. Despite spell check, I go through afterwards and see all sorts of mistakes.

  4. Emma

    You can never have too much kissing. I love the NY statue.

  5. @Moon-howler
    I’m not so good at editing myself. Firefox underlines my spelling errors which I appreciate very much. I still do things like skip words or letters, though. When I am editing for real, I have to read each piece at least four times and at least once aloud. Obviously, I don’t do that when I blog 🙂

    Emma, I agree.

    And that kiss pic is just wonderfully expressive. Talented, fast photographer and some relieved folks for sure!

  6. The kiss and Iwo Jima are probably the 2 most famous pictures from WWII. Any other suggestions?

    Reminder that WWII vets are dying off at a rate of over 1000 per day. The rate is probably getting closer to 2000 a day now. The youngest vet is probably 82 and that is if they went into the war at the very end at age 17.

  7. punchak

    “When the lights go on again all over the world
    When the boys are home again all over the world…”

    “There’ll be bluebirds over
    the white cliffs of Dover…

    There’ll be joy and laughter
    And peace ever after …”

    Oh, the hopes at war’s end! And, aside from the still unresolved segregration, the 50s
    seemed to live up to the promise. And then came the cold war and the Iron Curtain and, and, and. But for us who were young at the end of WWII, the possibilities seemed endless with GI bill for housing and education.

  8. Thanks very much for that glimpse of history that most people aren’t fortunately enough to know about.

    Little did you all know how unresolved things really were. The concessions to the Soviets really seemed to set things in motion. Korea, Vietnam.

    I am still contemplating what my mother said after 9/11. She said she was so glad my grandfather and father weren’t around to see that we got caught sleeping at the switch again and that we had LET it happen. I don’t know if she was having a bad day or thinking back to Pearl Harbor. I will never know. But those were fairly dark words.

  9. Mackie, I let you out of the moderation pen just long enough to say SCREW YOU.

    Whatever your problems are, get some help. Also read some normal history rather than whatever garbage dump you sift through to find something against white people.

    Bye for now….
    The over-priviledged white princess

  10. Ordinarily I don’t respond to those who end up in moderation. Today, the devil made me do it. I have never been called an over-privileged white princess before.

    Can I pretend it is true, just for a minute. Amazing how people assume, isn’t it? This is really a world of ‘what if ‘ in Mackie’s mind. How can any of us change history? We can’t. Mackie needs to get over that which cannot be changed.

  11. Emma

    Hey, I’m an overprivileged white princess, too! At least my family makes me feel that way most of the time.

  12. Let’s start a club, Emma.

  13. Emma

    The OWP Club.

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