A drunk sailor, overjoyed that World War II was over, ran to Times Square alongside his soon-to-be wife to celebrate the news. Seeing a woman in what he thought was a nurse uniform, he couldn’t contain himself. Right then and there, the thankful young survivor of the USS Bunker Hill attack, which had happened just three months earlier, spun the young woman around, held her in his arms, and planted a kiss on her lips.
The iconic photograph of that brief encounter is now part of history, and a statue of that kiss stands undisturbed in Sarasota, Florida. Until now.
Early Tuesday, police encountered the statue known as “Unconditional Surrender” defaced with #MeToo spray-painted over the woman’s leg.
At the time of the kiss that “ended” World War II, the sailor, George Medonsa, had been drinking and celebrating with Rita, his soon-to-be-wife, after the couple heard the news the war was over. As he headed to Times Square where many were gathered, Greta Zimmer Friedman, the dental assistant mistaken for a nurse, did the same.
Greta had arrived in the U.S. in 1939 from Austria. Her parents sensed danger and insisted she should leave. As she learned the war had ended, the young woman ran to the square, perhaps wondering what had happened to her parents. She later found out they were killed.
Still, in the moment of celebration and ecstasy that enveloped everyone gathered in Times Square, George saw Greta and only one thought crossed his mind: “I ought to thank her for her service.” But Greta had no idea of what was happening.
She was standing there for a few minutes, she told reporters, and “then I was grabbed.”
“That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me.”
As soon as the kiss was over, both of them went their own separate ways, never seeing each other again until much later.
While Greta was clearly caught by surprise and obviously tense due to this incident, the drunken George didn’t mean any harm. And while Greta could have fought him, slapped him, or made a scene, she walked away. Perhaps thankful that that had been it. Now, that scenario is unthinkable. After all, women are taught that if a man even asks them out, it could be an assault.
War And The Freedom To Make Mistakes
Had the war never happened, George would have never witnessed nurses rushing to save hundreds of sailors injured and killed as a result of World War II.
He would have never watched in awe as women dressed much like Greta ran to help men, some horribly burned, after two Japanese kamikaze planes smashed into USS Bunker Hill.
By the same token, the world wouldn’t have witnessed the moment the U.S. dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, murdering over 200,000 Japanese people, many of whom were civilians, and hurting countless others over time thanks to the exposure to radiation.
And if it hadn’t been for the war, 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry wouldn’t have been sent to concentration camps on U.S. soil, proving just how pitiful, disgraceful, and immoral government can be. Yet, what triggers today’s “activists” is a kiss coming from a drunken sailor who saw the realities of war unravel right before his eyes.
That, a Facebook user wrote on the police’s official page reporting on the vandalism incident, is “oppression.”
“Stop glorifying sexual assault,” another commentator suggested.
In a time lawmakers get wide support from young voters for promoting pieces of legislation giving the federal government sweeping powers and reporters and left-leaning Americans bemoan the president for wanting to leave Syria, it isn’t shocking to see that a kiss, and not war, is what horrifies and offends people.
With so many ready to use government force to impose their own cultural paradigms on those are unwilling to toe the line, it’s clear that giving government more excuses to expand its power is part of the agenda. And in no time, we won’t even be free to make mistakes — even innocent ones, like the one George made in 1945.
Image credit: Port of San Diego.