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The lips behind the kiss that ended World War II

Thursday - 5/17/2012, 7:15am  ET

kiss
Greta Friedman, of Frederick, holds an autographed copy of the famous Life magazine photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt taken in New York's Times Square on V-J Day in 1945. Authors of a new book say they have proved the people in the photo are Friedman and George Mendonsa. (Courtesy Sam Yu/Frederick News Post)

WASHINGTON - It's arguably the most famous picture marking the end of World War II: Two strangers, a sailor and a nurse, kissing in the middle of Times Square on the cover of LIFE Magazine.

But who was that woman swept off her feet?

After years of false leads, a new book, "The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo that Ended World War II," unravels years of misinformation to identify the kissers as Freta Friedman and George Mendonsa, the Frederick News Post reports.

Friedman, now 87, lives in Frederick County, Md.

She spoke with WTOP, and was asked if her friends and family knew she was the woman in the famous photograph.

"All my friends know it, and nobody argued me about it," Friedman says.

Friedman was 21-years-old at the time of the infamous kiss.

"He just grabbed me and gave me a kiss," says Friedman. "But his hands were so strong and big, that there was no way I could get out of it."

But was he a good kisser? Friedman's not sure.

"At that point, I really couldn't judge. [I] didn't have enough experience with that."

WTOP's David Burd contributed to this report. Follow David and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)