The “Sicilian” sailor of the famous kiss with the nurse has died. The myth and the fakes. But she recognized him in 2005 – -

The “Sicilian” sailor of the famous kiss with the nurse has died. The myth and the fakes. But she recognized him in 2005 – -
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His photo in Times Square, New York, passionately kissing nurse Edith Shain on August 14, 1945, has become immortal because it symbolizes the end of the Second World War. The success of the shot by a master of photography like Alfred Eisenstaedt was immediate because it ended up on the cover of the magazine Life and went around the world.

Last Tuesday, the “sailor” Carlo Muscarello – known to all as Moose – passed away after a short illness in Georgia, aged 97. The news the Corriere della Sera he learned it from his daughter Marie. “In his last hours, he was surrounded by the love of us children and grandchildren and was accompanied by his beloved Frank Sinatra songs,” he said.

Like the great singer, Carlo also had a father who emigrated from Sicily. How he reconstructed in the past the Corriere della Sera, his father Sebastiano was from Santo Stefano di Camastra, in the Messina area. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he had chased the “American dream” and moved to New York but then returned to Italy to fight in the First World War. In 1920 he married fellow villager Maria Attinello and, soon after, they decided to move to New York. Finding a home in Brooklyn, they had eight children including Carlo, in August 1926. His parents had retained Italian citizenship at the time of his birth, which is why even his children Sebastian and Marie can still apply for it.

«Our entire community is deeply saddened by the death of the most iconic and famous Stefano in the world – says mayor Francesco Re – because that shot with him as the protagonist has become the symbol of peace. We dedicated an Inceramicata in 2022 in which artists from all over Italy participated who reinterpreted the kiss and peace. We had also started all the procedures to recognize him as honorary citizenship because after the discovery of the Courier we discovered that he had returned at least three times during his life to Santo Stefano to get to know his parents’ town and his “Italian” family”.

– One of the works of art of the Inceramicata Stefanese 2022 dedicated to Carl Muscarello’s kiss

The last years

«My father Carl and his second wife Shelly, married after my mother’s death over 30 years ago, — he explains to Courier daughter Marie — has lived the last few years in a beautiful 100,000 square foot retirement residence that is just 10 minutes away from my home in Georgia which is why we visited them frequently.”

The kiss

At the outbreak of the Second World War, the young Muscarello, also to obtain American citizenship more quickly, enlisted in the Navy. On the eve of August 1945 he was stationed in New York when the admiral who commanded his ship announced the Armistice had taken place and gave many sailors free leave as a reward. That morning, out of joy, he told several times Muscarello had drunk a few too many beers and when he saw the nurse he felt like kissing her spontaneously. He never imagined becoming a symbol of peace. After the war, he became a New York Police officer and, once retired, enjoyed retirement with his second wife in Florida.

– The iconic photo of Eisenstaedt

The “other” sailors

Over the years, at least three men have claimed to be “the” sailor of the protagonist of the kiss and have had moments of celebrity. The error also arises from the fact that the iconic photo is the one taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt and was published on Life but, that day, a similar one was taken by the American Navy photographer Victor Jorgensen who, again on August 14, 1945, was in front of the Chemical Bank and Trust Building and captured a kiss between an American sailor and a nurse.

The photo was published the next day by New York Times. That shot was attributed to sailor George Mendonça, who passed away a few years ago at the age of 96. Eisenstaedt’s photo was taken in Times Square. In this case, nurse Edith Shain, who later became a teacher, recognized shortly before her death that the sailor was Carlo Muscarello. In 2005, in fact, the re-enactment of the shot was organized in Times Square on the day of the great war veterans’ parade.

Edit questioned those who claimed to be the co-protagonists of the photo but to the question “what did you do after the kiss?”, only Muscarello said what really happened: “just nothing because I left without saying a word”.

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