NEW YORK (Reuters) - Americans will gather for a group “kiss-in” in Times Square and buglers across the country will play the military funeral tune “Taps” on Saturday in the first national day of remembrance for the World War Two generation.
This year’s event comes on the 65th anniversary of what Americans call V-J Day, marking the victory over Japan that ended the war in 1945.
The celebration was immortalized in Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photograph of an unidentified sailor kissing nurse Edith Shain in Times Square. A group “kiss-in” recreating the moment is scheduled to take place beside a 25-foot (7.5-meter) statue of the couple.
At estimated 6,000 buglers will play “Taps” coast to coast and numerous events will be held at World War Two memorials and city halls, event organizers said. In future years the commemoration will be held on the second Sunday of August.
Shain died in June at age 91 before she could see her campaign for the commemoration completed. Congress approved the resolution in July.
Shain had become something of a celebrity because of the photo and wanted to leverage that fame into a worthy cause, said Warren Hegg, national supervisor for the “Keep the Sprit of ‘45 Alive” campaign.
“It really became Edith’s mission in life that there would be this national day, that every day someone thought about that day in August when a girl was kissed in Times Square, that people would think about it more deeply,” Hegg said.
“She said we should have a day for all the ordinary men and women of that generation who did so many remarkable things and never were really recognized for that: The people who endured the Great Depression, saved Western democracy, and then went on and rebuilt the world,” Hegg said.
Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Patricia Reaney