Magazine article America in WWII

Edith's Final Mission

Magazine article America in WWII

Edith's Final Mission

Article excerpt

Everyone thought of Edith Shain as "that nurse being kissed by the sailor" in Times Square on V-J Day 1945. Edith was obviously more than just a kisser, but it turns out she was also more than a nurse. She was also a teacher, instructing kindergarteners in Los Angeles for some 30 years.

In recent years, Edith was busy with another kind of teaching: reminding Americans what World War II was all about. "I was appalled that the kids didn't know there was a World War II" she told America in WWII during an interview, part of which was published in our last issue. Edith told us she met college students who had posters of her famous kiss on their dorm room walls, "and they didn't know what that picture represents. They didn't know what it was; they just thought it was a romantic thing."

Ever the teacher, Edith wanted to rectify the situation. So, when she was invited to be a spokesperson for the nonprofit Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive, she said yes. She said that she thought, "Well, this would be wonderful because then we can get the history out and kids will learn about it."

Edith crisscrossed our country campaigning for a permanent national day of remembrance for World War II on the second Sunday of August each year, near August 14, which is V-J Day. (At this writing, the resolution to establish that day seems extremely likely to pass Congress. My thanks to those of you who asked your Congressmen to cosponsor it.)

I never met Edith. My wife, Heidi, and I were supposed to meet her this June at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum's World War II Weekend in Reading, Pennsylvania. …

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