Hundreds of couples reenact Times Square kiss

Actors reenact the famous picture of a sailor kissing a nurse, near a replica sculpture in New York's Times Square.
Actors reenact the famous picture of a sailor kissing a nurse, near a replica sculpture in New York's Times Square.REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Hundreds of couples poured into New York's Times Square on Friday to reenact the famous photograph of a kiss between a sailor and a woman celebrating the end of World War II.

Photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt took the photograph as news broke that Japan had surrendered on Aug 14, 1945, bringing to a close the most brutal conflict the world has ever known.

The photo, known as "V-J Day in Times Square" for Victory over Japan, shows an American sailor kissing a woman in white, full on the mouth as her right foot rises off the ground.

Some of Friday's couples turned out in replica outfits, the men dressed in sailor suits and the women in white.

They clasped each other, locking lips in the same pose to the delight of passing tourists.

World War II veterans Ray and Ellie Williams, who got married on Aug 15, 1945, were guests of honour and flew in from the southern US state of Georgia for the event.

Ray Williams said he remembered the joy and jubilation that greeted the end of the war.

"We experienced that joy, it was a Friday evening. Jubilation broke out all over the country," he said.

"We were double excited, celebrating the end of the war and also our marriage."

A sculpture of the kiss was also installed in Times Square for the occasion.

On the evening of Aug 14, 1945, more than two million people are estimated to have gathered in Times Square to hear the news and share in the joy.

Eisenstaedt's photograph was published in Life magazine. He was in so much haste to cover the breaking news that he did not stop to ask the name of the couple.

Their faces are not clearly visible in the photograph and their identity remains a mystery.

Eleven men and three women have since come forward to claim they are in the photograph.

Japan surrendered on Aug 14, 1945, after America dropped two atomic bombs, on Hiroshima et Nagasaki, which killed more than 100,000 people instantly.

Tokyo signed its surrender on Sept 2.