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A Kiss, a Photo, a Statue and a Memory


Sixty years ago tomorrow, pandemonium swept America. The war with Japan was over.

Ms. EDITH SHAIN: People were wild: hugging, kissing and shouting. I mean, why not?

LUDDEN: Eighty-seven-year-old Edith Shain's celebratory kiss stands out from all the rest. It was captured in black and white. You've probably seen the photo. Shain stands in Times Square, swooning in the arms of a young sailor who's holding her gracefully by the waist. This week, Shain was back in Times Square where she met with reporters at the unveiling of a life-size, lifelike statue of that embrace. Edith Shain says she had no idea photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt was taking her picture.

Ms. SHAIN: I was working part-time at Doctor's Hospital and going to New York University. Somebody grabbed me, and kissed me, and held me for quite a while--and somebody's tried to estimate how long it was; I don't know, seven or eight seconds--and then let me go, and I went one way, and he went another. I don't know who he is. It was in Life magazine the week after, and I saw my photograph there, but I didn't tell anybody. I was embarrassed. But I never told anybody until 1980. I wasn't moved by it. I thought it was a nice photograph and that, you know, it was just a photograph.

LUDDEN: Edith Shain spoke with producer Kathleen Horan of member station WNYC.

And lovers in New York, you may want to head to Times Square tomorrow. There will be a kiss-in to mark the anniversary of VJ Day.

This is NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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