An Iconic Kiss Recreated, 65 Years Later

Couples mark anniversary of famous WWII photo

ByDavid Wright
August 14, 2010, 6:55 PM

Aug. 14, 2010 -- Walking through Times Square today, you may have seen an odd but familiar sight -- dozens of men in sailor's hats kissing women dressed as 1940s nurses.

Today marks the 65th anniversary of the Allied victory in Japan -- VJ Day, as it's known -- which effectively ended World War II.

Couples of all ages, including WWII veterans Rocco Moretto and Marge Zwick, flocked to Times Square to reenact the iconic images of that day in 1945, under a 26-foot statue of the iconic kiss.

Like the famous photo, it shows an unknown sailor and nurse in a passionate embrace. Alfred Eisenstaedt's once-in-a lifetime candid shot, taken for Life magazine, captures a black-and-white moment of euphoria and celebration. It has become an icon of American history.

Gloria Bullard wasn't the nurse in that famous picture, but she was there in the crowd. In the time it took her to walk through Times Square that day, from 7th Avenue to 8th Avenue, she was kissed a dozen times by random men.

Bullard, now 84 and living in Winnsboro, S.C., doesn't appear in the iconic Eisenstadt shot, but a second photographer caught her face the exact same moment, shooting the same sailor and nurse from a slightly different angle.

She didn't realize the camera had caught her until years later, when a friend spotted that second image in a newspaper.

"I was in nurse's training school at New York Medical College," Bullard said. "In the picture it looks as though I was standing there, but I was not. I just stopped and turned to look, get a full view of the sailor, and the nurse, and that's when he took the picture."

Sixty-five years to the day later, she remembers that scene as though it were yesterday.

"It kind of chokes me up now," she said. "We, as a nation, we can really get together, and we will survive anything."

In addition to today's kiss-in spectacle, friends and family members of those who died during WWII gathered in Times Square and displayed photos of their departed loved ones.

The giant statue depicting the iconic kiss was created by the Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive campaign, a nonprofit group seeking to raise public awareness about the 65th anniversary of World War II and inspire national unity.

The group recently saw the Senate and House vote on a resolution supporting a national "Spirit of 45" day on the second Sunday of every August.

ABC News' Kevin Dolak contributed to this report.

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