By Jamie Nash
Glenn Edward McDuffie was an 18-year-old member of the US Navy on August 14, 1945 when the Japanese surrendered, ending the Second World War McDuffie was on a 30 day leave and headed to see his girlfriend in Brooklyn, when he stepped out of a subway terminal and onto the pages of history.
In a 2009 interview with this reporter, McDuffie said he was about to cross the street at Times Square to change trains when he heard the news.
“I got up to the top of the steps and a lady came in off the street, walked over to me, put her hand on me and said Sailor I’m so happy for you,” McDuffie said. “I said for what? She said the war’s over you can go home!”
McDuffie asked the stranger if she was sure and she told him it was just announced on the Times Building, right outside the subway entrance.
“First thing I thought about was my oldest brother, who was captured when the Philippines fell,” he said. “We got one postcard from him a year and a half after he was captured, saying he was alive, and that’s all we ever heard from him.”
“I thought if he was alive, he could come home. I ran out in the street jumping and hollering thinking about him.”
McDuffie was caught up in the euphoria, and soon realized he was not alone in his excitement.
“That nurse had her back turned to me, and she turned around held her arms out, and that’s when I ran over and kissed her,” he said. “I never even spoke to her – I kissed her long as I thought I should.”
“That photographer had that camera in my face. He turned around and ran and I got on the subway and left – never even spoke to that woman.”
Though others tried to claim they were the sailor in the iconic photo, in 2007, a noted forensic artist with the Houston Police Department investigated and positively identified Glenn McDuffie as the sailor kissing the nurse.
McDuffie smiled as he recounted the story four years ago, during Montgomery County’s third Lone Star Honor Flight, taking WWII veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.
Some of the veterans were in wheelchairs, and some had already passed on and had family members who made the trip in their memory, with the flags from their coffins. McDuffie, however, seemed much younger than his 83 years, standing tall and proud, as he saluted those American flags, placed on the Texas column at the World War II Memorial.
Mr. McDuffie’s brother, who was the source of his greatest excitement at the news the war was over, never made it home.
Last Sunday, on March 9, Glenn McDuffie suffered a massive heart attack, and was finally reunited with his brother.
2009 INTERVIEW WITH GLENN MCDUFFIE ON THE 2009 LONE STAR HONOR FLIGHT
MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE REPORTERS
JAMIE NASH IS KISSED BY MCDUFFIE
IN 2009 AS SHE COVERED
THE LONE STAR HONOR FLIGHT
MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE REPORTER
JAMIE NASH WITH GLENN MCDUFFIE AS SHE COVERED THE
LONE STAR HONOR FLIGHT TO WASHINGTON D.C.