Iconic kiss

George Mendonsa, a 92-year-old veteran from Rhode Island, says he’s sure it’s him

When Alfred Eisenstaedt took a picture of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square on V-J Day, on Aug. 14, 1945, he knew he’d captured something special. But he likely didn’t realize that the photo would become one of the most iconic images of the 20th century—and one of its most enduring mysteries.

Though the identities of the sailor and nurse have never been confirmed, George Mendonsa, a 92-year-old veteran and retired fisherman, has no doubt the man in the photo is him. “I haven’t found a person yet that I haven’t convinced,” he told CNN, explaining that his large hands, a scar on his brow and his distinct memory of that moment are confirmation enough for him.

Extract from the Aug. 27, 1945, issue of LIFE. “In the middle of New York’s Times Square a white-clad girl clutches her purse and skirt as an uninhibited sailor plants his lips squarely on hers.

Every US president is related

Yes, every President is related, except one, and it is not who most people guess.

How the Work of a 12-Year-Old Girl Uncovered a Historical Oddity

It started with an American 12-year-old girl’s desire to trace her own heritage back to France. Along the way, she discovered that every single US President (except Martin Van Buren) are relatively closely related to just one man.

Meet BridgeAnne d’Avignon a gifted seventh grade student at Monte Vista School in Watsonville California. Prior to her work, genealogists only marginally associated about 19 US presidents as “distantly” related. She has created an amazing poster available at her website: http://weareallrelated.com/.

Her work started when she was just 10 years old when she discovered her Grandfather’s genealogy software and challenged herself with a simple question: “How many US Presidents are related?” The answer was an astounding coincidence.

Academic genealogists were more than shocked to discover that this association was in the historical record and overlooked by thousands of researchers. One of the secrets to BridgeAnne’s work was to trace the genealogy of both parents. She was not sure where the journey would lead her to, but pushed on for over two years of research.

Every US President Is Part of One Bloodline

The distant grandfather to all US presidents (except Van Buren) is King John “Lackland” Plantagenet. The very same King John that was the antagonist to the Robin Hood story.

Not Part of Robin Hood’s Family

Born in December 24, 1166, King John has indirectly supplied all US presidents (again, except Van Buren). King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215, however, he never complied with its conditions and was known for his pettiness, spitefulness, and cruelty that helped give rise to the Robin Hood legends.

Beyond the work of now expert genealogy researcher BridgeAnne, dig just a little deeper and we find that Emperor Charlemagne is the root of just about all the leaders in Europe and the Middle East.

Data Is Useless Without Wisdom

The age of the Internet yields a great deal of information democratically to everyone connected. Data is useless without insights. Clearly we are awash with endless data and profoundly less empirical insights. It takes the work of great researchers, doing amazing work drawing perhaps unexpected insights to make sense of data.

This is the basis of wisdom and sometimes wisdom comes from unexpected places and can be found in a 12-year-old girl.
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History is unexpected, sometimes

In June 1941, war broke out between Finland and the USSR. The Finns called this conflict “the Continuation War” because it was their attempt to regain territory lost to the Soviet Union in the earlier Winter War.

Among the soldiers fighting against the Soviet Union were Finnish Jews. That’s not a big deal yet. But here comes the amazing part.

The Finns launched this war in careful coordination with Nazi Germany’s attack on the USSR.

So you had a situation where Jewish soldiers and German soldiers were fighting in the same battle on the same side against the same enemy.

The German government subsequently issued an Iron Cross medal to a Finnish soldier for gallantry in his role in evacuating wounded Finnish and German troops. The recipient of this award was Jewish.

You can’t make this stuff up.

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