Thursday, June 15, 2017

THE DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM, ABILENE, KANSAS

was America's 34th President.


Gregg buying our tickets at the museum.  On opposite walls there were two very large murals, and all around the foyer, paintings depicting scenes from President Eisenhower's life.

























I will share more from our time at the museum in another post, but I wanted to continue the story behind the photo mentioned in my last one.



When I saw this statue with the photo behind it, we were at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.  It was a fascinating place to walk around, with a lot of World War II memorabelia.  Both Gregg and I are always interested in history and we took a long time looking at everything. 

I am always drawn to sculptures and one of the first I saw that day was a depiction of a very famous photo taken on V-J Day, August 14th, 1945.  The photographer was Alfred Eisentaedt.  The photo was published in Life Magazine and captured what must have been the relief and joy people felt when they heard that the war had ended.  

The nurse, Greta Zimmer Friedman, was actually a 21 year old dental assistant, walking in Time Square when the news came that the war had ended.  The sailor was George Mendonsa

The true story behind that kiss can be found here.

The story begins on the first date of 20 year old Rita Petry and 22 year old George who were watching a matinee at Radio City Hall.  They never saw the end of the movie.  People started pounding on the doors with news that the war had ended.  

There was great excitement on the streets, and they went into a bar where the bartender had set up drinks to overflowing.  By the time they got out of the bar George had had quite a few. As he and Rita were walking around Time Square, he saw a woman in a nurse's uniform.  He left Rita's side momentarily, ran over to the nurse and gave her the kiss you see below, frozen in time.   In his own way George was thanking all the nurses he had encountered, and had always admired them for the work he had seen them do.


Obviously you can't go around grabbing ladies and giving them a big kiss these days, but I am trying to put this into the context of the time.  Everyone was euphoric. 

The sailor and the nurse never saw each other again, and George married Rita, the smiling lady you see in the background of the above photo. When the article was written in 2012, they had been married for 66 years.   

I always find it fascinating to learn about the people in these photos.  

More can be read here also.

There were other statues I saw at the museum.






















38 comments:

  1. Hello Denise, I love the murals in this museum. They are awesome. The story behind the kissing statue is wonderful. So glad his girlfriend did not mind the kiss. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day and weekend ahead!

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    1. Thank you Eileen, glad you enjoyed it.

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  2. I enjoyed the full story behind that kiss...I may have heard it before but I don't remember it if I did.

    I get you guys really did enjoy that museum!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Rose. And we loved the museum.

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  3. Beautiful murals, paintings and sculptures, Denise! And I love the iconic, frozen in time photo!

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  4. I always loved that photo taken on V-J Day and that sculpture is perfect.

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    1. Thanks Jimmy, it speaks volumes doesn't it?

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  5. the murals are impressive and beautiful and the statues are awe inspiring. my favorite is the soldier drinking from the canteen

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    1. Thank you Sandra, glad you enjoyed them.

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  6. What a sweet story about that kiss. I have seen that photo but did not know the story behind it. And WWII was the worst war in history.

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    1. Hi Gigi, I didn't know the story either, though I knew the photograph straight away. That's what I love about traveling, it is a real education.

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  7. Eisenhower was president when I was growing up. So I really remember both him and Mamie. I think my favorite part is how the murals around the walls show his life. The lady who was kissed lived a long life, and only died a few years ago. Who doesn't remember this picture, it is a WOW moment!

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    1. Hi Ginny, it certainly is and visiting the museum was a great experience.

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  8. Love this post, interesting information, story and photos. The museum looks a really interesting place. Have a good day Diane

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    1. Thank you Diane, have a good day also :)

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  9. I think it is an interesting place to visit

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  10. Hi Denise, found the story about the kiss fascinating as I have never heard it before. What a super place to visit with those wonderful murals, great post. All the best, John. sorry for the late comment but time is being taken up with the Owls, just about to go out this evening.

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    1. No apologies necessary John, I would be with the owls also :) Thank you for visiting and all the best to you :) Denise

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  11. I didn't know the story behind that kiss photograph. The statues really stand out.

    In my opinion, Ike's the last great president America's had.

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    1. Thanks William, he was a very interesting man and I am learning more about him thanks to this visit. It gave me great curiosity to find out as much as I can.

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  12. Denise,
    I think the murals shown here are wonderful, and I so enjoyed the story behind the kissing statue, thank you.

    All the best Jan

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    1. I thought so too Jan, thank you and all the best to you :)

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  13. What a story behind that statue. This looks like a great museum.

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    1. Thanks Ellen, it was very impressive.

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  14. Beautiful murals and thanks for sharing the story of 'the kiss'.

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  15. Fabulous statues and paintings. The story was so sweet. History is so interesting now but I hated it at school.

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    1. Happy you enjoyed them Diane :) I remember learning about the industrial revolution when I was at school. I would enjoy learning about it now, certainly not back then.

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  16. I wish I could visit the museum but, never mind, I have seen it through your post. Not such happy days then but it's good to look back.

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    1. Thanks Valerie, I remember my mum telling me some interesting stories of her life during those times. I will never forget them, some sad, some funny. I have passed those stories onto our son.

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  17. Great coverage, Denise. Brings back memories for me of a visit to this museum about sixteen years ago. It's hard not to contemplate the civilized discourse that took place between Democrats and Republicans then, and the vitriol that passes for debate today.

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    1. Thank you David, like you I prefer the statesman-like discourse of earlier times.

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  18. Thanks for the background story, Denise, on the photo. This museum looked like it would be a fascinating place to take one's time in when going through it.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it :) It was and I would recommend it to anyone.

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