RI’s George Mendonsa, kissing WWII sailor, dies

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MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island man who claimed to be the sailor kissing a nurse in an iconic image at the end of World War II has died.

The Providence Journal reports George Mendonsa, 95, died at an assisted living facility in Middletown Sunday.

Mendonsa was never able to convince LIFE magazine he was the sailor in the famous photo. However, recent facial recognition technology verified his lifelong claim.

When he was honored at the Rhode Island State House in 2015, Mendonsa spoke about the famous kiss.

“I saw what those nurses did that day when we had the wounded on my ship and we put the wounded on the hospital ship. And of course, I saw what those nurses did that day and now back in Times Square the war ends, a few drinks, so I grabbed the nurse,” Mendonsa said.

The nurse in the photo – Greta Zimmer Friedman – passed away in 2016.

Mendonsa’s funeral arrangements are still in the works.

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