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“Times Square Kiss” statue stops in Roseville

Touring statue commemorates V-J Day when WWII ended
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Residents of Sierra Pointe in Roseville had seen the famous photograph of a U.S. sailor kissing a young woman in New York's Times Square at the end of World War II.

But seeing a touring statue version of that photo on Tuesday brought back vivid memories of their own experiences during the war. For many residents, those memories include love stories that lasted a lifetime.

Husband and wife Herb and Augusta Goldman visited the statue, reflecting on their relationship that began in Chicago more than six decades ago.

"I was busy feeding my face at the USO and she came up to me and asked would I like some company," Herb Goldman said. "One thing led to another and eventually we got married. We've been married 61 years."

The photo of the smooch between a sailor and nurse by Alfred Eisenstaedt appeared on the cover of Life Magazine and became an iconic symbol marking V-J Day, or Victory over Japan Day, on Aug. 14, 1945.

The touring "Times Square Kiss" statue is visiting Vintage Senior Living communities across the United States as part of the national "Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive" movement to recognize the sacrifices and achievements of "The Greatest Generation."

In the early 1940s, Marjorie Coughanour - who now lives at Sierra Pointe - attended Willamette University in Salem, Ore. Everyone at the school was involved in the war effort. A few years later, she moved to San Francisco and worked for the Office of War Information.

"My (work) friend told me, 'I have just the man for you, so stop looking,'" Coughanour said. "I said, 'I'm not really looking.' But he did happen to be the man for me."

She and Warren, a naval officer, married in 1945 and stayed together 64 years until he passed away.

Joy Forsberg was living in San Francisco during the war. When the announcement came the war had ended, businesses closed down and people took to the streets to celebrate. Forsberg remembers walking down Market Street, "kissing her way" all the way down the road.

"It really was something to be proud of," Forsberg said. "It was something to remember."

In 2011, Congress passed a resolution observing a national Spirit of '45 Day on the second Sunday of August. This year's commemoration takes place Aug. 12.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.