The Second Plane

Behind the camera: Lyle Owerko
Where: Close to the WTC complex, New York City, America
Photo Summary: Seconds after United Airlines Flight 175 smashed into the South WTC Tower (2 WTC) at 9:03 AM.
Picture Taken: Minutes after 9:00 AM September 11, 2001

On September 11, 2001, Lyle Owerko was resting after a gruelling trip back from Africa. He was just unpacking his gear when he heard a huge explosion. Rushing from his apartment he looked up to see the North Tower of the WTC on fire. Minutes later another plane screamed overhead and crashed into the South WTC Tower. Owerko remembers that “when that second plane hit, I knew that the world changed. You could just feel it. I just knew that the camera I was holding in my hand contained lightning in a bottle.”

Taking the picture

After hearing the explosion he ran out of his Tribeca neighbourhood apartment chasing what he remembers as “the worst sound I’ve ever heard in my life.” Since he still hadn’t unpacked much, from his assignment in Africa, he had the cameras and lenses he was using from his trip. It was this 400-millimetre telephoto lens that he didn’t normally carry with him that allowed him to capture such powerful pictures. He spent some time in NYC after the attacks taking pictures which he then published together in a limited run book, of 2000 copies, called: And no birds sang

Lyle Owerko

In 2012 did a series of photos of photographers and their iconic pictures

Born in and raised in Calgary, Canada, Owerko studied at the Pratt Institute and graduated from the Communication Arts program. Since then he has taken on many eclectic jobs from directing Robert Redford in a series of Sundance Channel commercials, to working for MTV and of course taking the TIME cover of the second plane hitting the WTC. That critically acclaimed image was later nominated as one of the 40 most important magazine covers in the last 40 years.
Since taking the now iconic image Owerko has spent years in Africa documenting Kenya’s Samburu warriors. In an interview, he contrasted his work by saying:

9/11 shattered my innocence and still does to this day. I have a hard time with those images, as my main goal as a creative has always been to dignify the human condition. On the other hand, Africa offers a way for me to console and reconcile my proximity to the cycle of life and death by using the camera to engage suffering and to raise the voices of the tiny and overlooked.

One of his latest projects is book he put together called The Boombox Project: The Machines, the Music, and the Urban Underground
which Spike Lee wrote a forward for.

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Raising the Flag at the WTC

Behind the camera: Thomas E. Franklin of The Bergen Record
Where: Thomas E. Franklin said he was standing under a pedestrian walkway across the West Side Highway that connected the center to the World Financial Center, located at the northwest corner of the World Trade Center site. Franklin said the firefighters were about 150 yards (137 meters) away from him and the debris was 100 yards (91 meters) beyond that. They were about 20 feet (6 meters) off the ground on top of WTC wreckage.
Photo Summary: The firefighters pictured were Brooklyn-based firefighters George Johnson (36) of Rockaway Beach and Dan McWilliams of Long Island (both from Ladder 157), and Billy Eisengrein of Staten Island (Rescue 2).
Picture Taken: Around 5:00 PM Sept 11, 2001

This picture of three Firefighter raising the American flag at the site of the WTC attacks is one of the most famous images from 911. Shot by Thomas E. Franklin, of The Bergen Record, the photo first appeared on Sept 12, 2001, under the title, Ground Zero Spirit. The paper also put it on the Associated Press wire and it appeared on the covers of several newspapers around the world. Due to its subject, raising the flag during important American historical events, this photo has often been compared to the famous Flag on Iwo Jima photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal during World War II. The photo which was distributed worldwide was a finalist in 2002 for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news photography.

Getting to Ground Zero

Thomas E. Franklin started his day like any other arriving at The Bergen Record, at 8 a.m. to start his day. When news that a plane had hit the WTC spread through the office, Franklin headed down to the riverfront across from New York. When he arrived he started taking pictures of ferries carrying the wounded from the city and a triage area being set up on the shore. It wasn’t just another story for Franklin as his brother worked close to the WTC and while taking pictures he, “scanning the faces in Jersey City, hoping that I would see my brother.” It wasn’t until later in the day that he was able to contact his brother and make sure he was OK.
Around noon, the police started to restrict access to the city, but Franklin was able to tag along with another photographer, John Wheeler, who had convinced police to them take a tugboat to New York. While wandering around taking pictures of the carnage, he met up with James Nachtwey, a Pulitzer-prize winning photojournalist. Around 5 p.m. the two decided to take a break and while eating Franklin noticed three firefighters with a flag. Thomas Franklin recalls what happened next,

I would I say was 150 yards away when I saw the firefighters raising the flag. They were standing on a structure about 20 feet above the ground. This was a long lens picture: there was about 100 yards between the foreground and background, and the long lens would capture the enormity of the rubble behind them … I made the picture standing underneath what may have been one of the elevated walkways, possibly the one that had connected the World Trade Plaza and the World Financial Center. As soon as I shot it, I realized the similarity to the famous image of the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima.

The photograph captured the Brooklyn-based firefighters George Johnson of Rockaway Beach and Dan McWilliams of Long Island (both from Ladder 157), and Billy Eisengrein of Staten Island (Rescue 2) running up the flag on an existing flag pole located on West St. The firefighters had been digging through the rubble around WTC 7 when they where pulled out as the building was about to collapse. While evacuating McWilliams saw a yacht in the harbor, Star of America, running an American flag and an empty flag pole sticking out of the wreckage on West St. He grabbed the flag from the yacht and together with Johnson walked toward the flagpole. The third firefighter, Eisengrein, saw what they were doing and offered to lend a hand. As they scrambled up the debris Franklin aimed his long lens in their direction, catching what would soon be an Iconic Image.
[bigquote quote=”911 still hovers over us” author=”Thomas Franklin”]

Where are they now

All of the firemen in the picture refused to do TV spots or interview requests and still work at their respective ladders. The photographer, Thomas Franklin, still works at his Jersey newspaper and told USA Today, “A lot of people involved with 9/11 really haven’t moved on,” Franklin says. “I would have thought we would have. But it still hovers over us.”

The Flag

The flag came from the 130-ft. (40 m) the yacht named Star of America, owned by Shirley Dreifus of the Majestic Star, which was docked in the yacht basin in the Hudson River at the World Financial Center. Researchers were able to determine that the flag was originally manufactured by Eder Flag Manufacturing located in Oakcreek, Wisconsin. After the flag was raised by the firemen, it flew on the pole for about 10 days before the Fire Department took it down on the request at the request of the Navy. They wanted it to fly on the American aircraft carrier, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), which was on its way to Afghanistan to support the upcoming fight against the Taliban. Before it left to join the Navy it appeared at a service on Sept. 23, at Yankee Stadium, where it was signed by Gov. George Pataki, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the fire and police commissioners. Sometime before this signing, the flag was switched with a bigger flag. The yacht’s flag measured four feet by six feet, the impostor flag measured five feet by eight feet. The difference was first noticed by one of the firefighters when during a raising ceremony, in April 2002, after its return from the Navy he and the others confirmed that the flag was too big. The original owner, Shirley Dreifus, also noticed that the flag had been replaced and actually sued the city in hopes that it would be forced to return the flag. An investigation was launched which failed to find the flag and the lawsuit was dropped. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, when asked about the disappearance, stated that the city didn’t have it, “I don’t know where Osama bin Laden is, either.” As of Dec 2006 the flag has yet to be found Shirley Dreifus has even started a Web site ( to get the flag back.


The “Heroes 2001” stamp, USA Scott #B2, was unveiled on March 11, 2002, by President George W. Bush, in a ceremony attended by Franklin, Johnson, Eisengrein, and McWilliams. These stamps were semipostals: they had a purchase price (45¢) higher than their postage value (34¢), with the balance given to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s relief efforts. A special exception was thus made to the normal requirement by the United States Postal Service that subjects of stamps be deceased.

The photograph taken of the same scene, but different angle, by Ricky Flores

In December 2001 The New York Fire Department unveiled plans for a statue based on the photograph to be placed at the Brooklyn headquarters. Instead of the original three firefighters, the statue was to include African American, White American, and Hispanic firefighters. However, it was cancelled in an outcry about rewriting history.

From a different Angle

Franklin wasn’t the only photographer to snap the shot of the three firemen. Ricky Flores also took a picture that ran on the front page of his employer, The Journal News (Journal News serves the Lower Hudson Valley i.e. New York’s Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties). His picture is often confused with Franklin’s even though they are taken from two totally different angles. Ricky somehow was able to get into the second story of a building on Canal St. where he snapped his shot through a window that had its glass shattered out.

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Killer Man

Behind the camera: CW4 Ruben Dominguez
Where: 75th Ranger Regiment
Photo Summary: Military poster
Picture Taken: 1985
This image is in the public domain because it was taken by a federal employee

I’m not the killer man…

This image although not world renowned in any sort of way is in fact iconic within a particular class. The United States Special Forces. Particularly the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment. The 75th Ranger Regiment is now a special operations combat formation within the U.S. Army Special Operation Command (USASOC). The Ranger Regiment traces its lineage to three of six battalions raised in WWII, and to the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional)—known as “Merrill’s Marauders,” and then redesignated as the 475th Infantry, then later as the 75th Infantry. The 61 day Ranger school/leadership course, located at Fort Benning Georgia, is notoriously difficult often boasting a 70-80% attrition rate. The course emphasizes leadership and small unit tactics.

The Poster

The Poster of “I’m not the Killer man…” was commissioned in 1985 by the then Regimental Commander, Colonel Joseph “Smoking Joe” Stringham. It was originally thought of as an incentive or bonus that a soldier would get upon joining the Ranger unit. Each poster would be signed by the Regimental Commander, the Deputy Commander and the Regimental Sergeant Major.
Colonel Stringham then went to the Fort Benning TASC (Training and Audio Visual Support Center) office to place an order to have the poster printed. However, TASC, for whatever reason, told him that they couldn’t print the poster. Colonel Stringham then flew TDY (Temporary Duty) to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and spoke to the 4th Psychological Operations (4th PSYOPS) mobile printing press who ended up printing 3000 copies of the poster for the Colonel.
The posters remained on display within Ranger offices and in the barracks, with the original poster, drawn on butcher block paper, in the Regimental Ranger Headquarters until the next Regimental Commander, Colonel Taylor, took command. He thought the poster displayed a negative image of the U.S. Army Rangers and all Regimental Rangers were then required to take down the posters.

The Poster’s Concept and Inception

The “Killer Man” Poster as it has come to be called was designed and drawn by now retired CW4 Ruben Dominguez. Dominguez had spent four years in the United States Marine Corps in the infantry (0311) and as a small arms repair man (2111). He had left the USMC in 1984 and joined the Army principally because he wanted to be a paratrooper, and was picked up by the Ranger Regiment as an Infantryman (11B)/Draftsman due to his architectural background.
According to his recount of the genesis of the “Killer Man” Poster: “It was a weekend and I was frustrated. Drawing being one of my past times, I commenced to take out my frustration on paper. I began drawing the Ranger in a Captain America stance and modified it to reflect the Ranger holding the Ranger Crest Shield. It was my concept of what a Ranger is…an individual that takes up more of the share than others do, i.e. the large ruck sack with all the tools a warrior lives by…..armed to the hilt. Instead of the M-16, he holds the M-60 Machinegun. Being an avid admirer of the Ghurkas of Nepal and their honorable history, I drew him holding a “Kukri” knife. And considering that I personally believe that the United States flag is by far the most beautiful flag on this earth, I expressed my patriotism by drawing the American flags behind the Ranger as he charges forward into battle.”
While Dominguez was in his office sketchy the image out, Command Sergeant Major Cobb came in and made it clear that “That’s it! That’s what the old man wants!” He was referring to Colonel Stringham and his desire for a motivating and aggressive poster depicting his ideal Ranger Warrior.
A brief discussion then ensued in which CSM Cobb decide the poster needed a slogan. The following words would be printed across the top and bottom of the poster, and would come to be something of a mantra in the Ranger community.
“I’m not the Killer man, I’m the Killer man’s son, But I’ll do the Killing till the Killer man comes.”
This was a direct quote from then President of the United States, Ronald Reagan.

CW4 Dominguez

As the Rangers Regimental Draftsman, Dominguez had been responsible for streamlining the Ranger scroll design to ensure uniformity across the Ranger Regiment and Ranger Battalions. All uniformity guidelines i.e. diagrams of how the Ranger beret should be worn etc, were all his responsibility. In 1987 Dominguez left the Ranger Regiment and the Infantry and joined Counterintelligence. He retired in 2010 and currently works as a civilian/military contractor.

Pictures from other Wars

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Fall of Saddam Hussein’s Statue

Behind the camera: Various Internal Media Organizations
Where: Baghdad’s Firdus Square, directly in front of the Palestine Hotel where the world’s journalists had been quartered.
Photo Summary: Crowd of people celebrating the destruction of Saddam’s Statue
Picture Taken: April 9, 2003

The 2003 invasion of Iraq, code-named “Operation Iraqi Freedom” by the United States, officially began on March 20, 2003. The stated objective of the invasion was “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people”. As American forces streamed across the border most of the world thought that Saddam’s regime would quickly collapse but as the weeks past America’s invasion looked to be stalled. The Iraqi Information Minister, Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf (M.S.S.) ran a successful propaganda program claiming that American forces were being defeated and pushed back. Even as the American forces entered Baghdad M.S.S. asserted that the Iraqis were winning, “The infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Baghdad … As our leader Saddam Hussein said, ‘God is grilling their stomachs in hell.'” Even though his reports were denied by American forces there was a feeling especially in the Arab world that Iraq was putting up more fight than what was expected and maybe even winning. These views were dashed when the now-famous footage of American forces entering Baghdad’s Firdus Square and then began pulling down a huge statue of Saddam without any kind of Iraqi resistance.



The event was initially broadcast as a spontaneous show of Iraqi joy at the overthrow of the Saddam regime. It was at first reported that Iraqi civilians were trying to pull down the statue and only later were they helped by the American military. It was later revealed that rather than an Iraqi inspired event it was stage-managed American plan from a psychological operations team. The location of statue in Baghdad’s Firdus Square, directly in front of the Palestine Hotel where the world’s journalists had been quartered made the statue the perfect target. The army wouldn’t have to ship journalists anywhere as they were already on location. An internal military study determined that it was a fast-thinking Marine colonel who planned the operation. The square was closed off and his team used loudspeakers to get Iraqi civilians to come out a help.
The footage from that day seemed to show huge crowds and many media reports compared it to the fall of the Berlin wall. The footage was shot mostly via close up camera’s near the statue that filmed a what seemed to be a large crowd of people in civilian clothing but looking at wide shots of the scene you can see that the large square was largely deserted except for a small crowd around the statue. Analysts would lament that “What you saw on television looked like there were throngs of thousands and in reality, it was just a few dozen people.” It was also unclear where the crowd came from with reports that they were bused in from anti-Saddam slums in Sadr City or anti-Saddam Iraqi National Congress military forces flown in from outside Iraq. Al Jazeera reporters in the movie Control Room seemed to back the theory of the crowd coming from outside Iraq as they remarked that people from the crowd didn’t seem to speak Arabic with Iraqi accents.


The 12-metre tall Statue was one of Iraq’s newest Sculptures erected in honor of Saddam Hussein’s 65th birthday in April of 2002. In May of 2003, a group of Iraqi artists raised a new statue where Saddam used to stand. The Iraqi artists describe, “the new sculpture is seven metres (23 feet) high and shows a symbolic Iraqi family holding aloft a crescent moon and a sun.”

The Main Players


  • Marine Corporal Edward Chin of the 3rd Battalion 4th Marines regiment, a 23 year old ethnic Chinese who moved to New York when he was one, was the soldier who scaled the statue to put the chain around the neck of the giant Saddam. He also attached the American flag, and then climbed back up to replace it with an Iraqi one. “At the moment, I was just doing what I was told to do by my commanding officer,” Corporal Chin said. “I had to get the job done just like we’ve been doing out here in Iraq.”
  • Kadhem Sharif was the huge sledgehammer wielding strongman who was filmed trying to smash the base of the statue. He had a hot and cold relationship with the Saddam Family as a world-class wrestler and weightlifter he frequently felt the wrath of Saddam’s son, Uday, and was even put in jail after the team did poorly. He designed a huge expensive weightlifting gym for Uday and saw first hand how Uday would abuse steroids. He is convinced Uday’s excessive use of steroids drove him insane. A mechanic, he had a falling out with Uday after a disagreement when he refused to fix Uday’s collection of motorbikes. He was promptly arrested and spent several years in jail on trumped-up charges. Famous around Baghdad for his collection of bikes in 2004 he was arrested for trying to sell looted motorcycles. In 2008 for an interview with Al Jazeera he stated that due to the harsh and violent years of American occupation it was a joyful day that he doesn’t want to remember now. After the huge suicide bomb that killed hundreds of people in the summer of 2016, he did an interview with BBC’s Jeremy Bowen. He told Bowen that he looked back with regret at Saddam’s overthrow:

    Saddam has gone, and we have one thousand Saddams now, … It wasn’t like this under Saddam. There was a system. There were ways. We didn’t like him, but he was better than those people. Saddam never executed people without a reason. He was as solid as a wall. There was no corruption or looting, it was safe. You could be safe.”

    When asked what would he do if he meets Tony Blair, he responded, “I would say to him you are a criminal, and I’d spit in his face.”

  • Ali Fares and Khaled Hamid were some of the men who put the initial rope around the statue’s neck.”We asked the Americans to bring us this rope with a noose. I climbed the ladder myself. To begin with, I was scared, but when I climbed the ladder, the Iraqis started clapping, even the American soldiers. I heard them saying nice things about me. I couldn’t reach Saddam’s head, but by that time there was no fear. I was sure we’d got rid of him.”
  • Marine Lieutenant Tim McLaughlin was the soldier who provided the first American flag. The flag was had been in the Pentagon on 11 September 2001 and was given to Kuhlman by a friend. He kept it carefully wrapped in a box on the bottom of his tank and tried to raise it two times before. The first time he was forced to retreat after taking shots from a sniper and the second time the flag pole broke. As they stood around the statue his company commander, Captain Bryan Lewis asked for the flag to put on the statue. McLaughlin still has the flag that he keeps wrapped up on his bookshelf.
  • Marine Lieutenant Casey Kuhlman claims that he provided the second pre-1991 Iraqi flag. When the first flag went up the crowd started to turn ugly. He remembers that people started shouting and woman correspondent for a Middle Eastern television company started begging for them to take it down. Seeing the need for action he quickly brought out the Iraqi flag and passed it through the crowd. Where strongman Kadhem Sharif claims to have taken it to the marines on the crane.
  • [midgoogle]

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    VJday Times Square Kiss

    Behind the camera: Alfred Eisenstaedt although Lt Victor Jorgensen took a similar image
    Where: Times Square, New York City, USA
    Photo Summary: Many claims to be the Nurse and Sailor shown in the picture. Former nurses Edith Cullen Shain and Greta Friedman are the most likely Nurses and George Mendonça and Carl Muscarello are the most likely Sailors.
    Picture Taken: August 14, 1945. Victory in Japan day is actually Aug 15, 1945, but news broke out at Times Square on August 14 because of the International date-line and time zone changes.

    America had been at war for almost 4 years, Germany had finally been knocked out of the conflict three months earlier but Japan still fought on. Finally, after nightly bombing raids and two cities wiped out by Atomic explosions, Imperial Japan surrendered. News travelled like wild fire and on August 14, 1945, America celebrated! One of the most famous pictures of World War II, Alfred Eisenstaedt captured this image in the revelry at New York’s Time Square.

    Taking the picture

    Actual photo taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt

    When news broke out of Japan’s surrender Alfred Eisenstaedt ran to Times Square taking pictures as he went. Suddenly he saw a sailor who was “‘running along the street grabbing any and every girl in sight. Whether she was a grandmother, stout, thin, old, didn’t make any difference. None of the pictures that were possible pleased me. Then, suddenly in a flash, I saw something white being grabbed. I turned around and clicked the moment the sailor kissed the nurse … Although I am 92, my brain is 30 years old.’ To prove it he recalled that to shoot that victory kiss he used 1/125 second exposure, aperture between 5.6 and 8 on Kodak Super Double X film.” Eisenstaedt snapped four shots of the kissing couple before moving on to get other pictures. A navy photographer, Lt Victor Jorgensen, was standing very close to Eisenstaedt and took a similar image. As Jorgensen was a federal employee his images are in the public domain while Eisenstaedt’s are copyrighted.

    Who is in the Picture?

    Original letter to Eisenstaedt

    On that crazy August day, Alfred Eisenstaedt got so caught up in the excitement that was going on in Times Square that he didn’t write down who the sailor and nurse were. Since that day many have stepped forward claiming to be the two in the picture.

    Edith Cullen Shain

    Edith Cullen Shain was a Nurse that was taking part in the celebration when she was kissed by a sailor. She said she wasn’t surprised as “at that time in my life everyone was kissing me.” Even though she knew it was herself in the image she didn’t step forward until the late 70s when she saw an article in the LA Times with Eisenstaedt. He was talking about the photo and after reading it she decided to come forward. In the 40s Edith ” didn’t think it was dignified [to be photographed kissing] but times have changed” so she wrote this letter to Eisenstaedt:

    Dear Mr, Eisenstaedt:
    Now that I’m 60 – it’s fun to admit that I’m the nurse in your famous shot “of the amorous sailor celebrating V.E. Day by kissing a nurse on New York’s Broadway.”
    The article in the Los Angles Times, which described your talents, stimiulated the recall of the scene on Broadway. I had left Doctors’ Hospitial and wanted to be part of the celebration but the amorous sailor and a subsequent soldier motivated [me] into the next opening of the subway.
    I wish I could have stored that jubulation and amour for use P.R.N. [“P.R.N.” is a medical term meaning “as needed”]
    Mr Eisenstaedt, is it possible for me to obtain a print of that picture? I would be most apprecitive. I regret not having meet you on your last trip to Beverly Hills.
    Perhaps next time. If not – will understand because “it’s not only hard to catch him … its hard to keep up with him”
    Have fun, Fondly,
    Edith Shain

    New York City celebrating the surrender of Japan. They threw anything and kissed anybody in Times Square.

    Lt. Victor Jorgensen’s version of the photo

    Of all the nurses claiming to be “the one” Eisenstaedt has backed Shain describing her as a “vivacious, lovely woman.”. Shain died at her home on June 20, 2010. She was 91 years old.

    Greta Friedman

    Greta Friedman claims the photo is of her but concedes that Shain was probably there, “There’s no doubt that Mrs. Shain was there and got kissed … because every female was grabbed and kissed by men in uniform.” But, says Greta of Frederick, Md., “it definitely is my shape. I used a comb in my hair. I had a purse like the one in the nurse’s hand. I remember being kissed by a sailor, right on Broadway.” Of the women, only Greta is high enough to be the Nurse to Mendonsa’s sailor. She died in 2016 at the age of 92.

    Barbara Sokol

    In the kissing frenzy in Times Square, Barbara Sokol recalls, she got “an ucky, sloppy kiss” and was wiping her mouth with a handkerchief when up walked another guy who yelled, “‘Gotcha’ I said, ‘No! No! No!’ and when he bent me back I thought, ‘My God, I’m gonna fall'” Barbara a nurse in Derby, Conn. She has always claimed that the Nurse was her and has kept a cut out of the picture framed, “my one claim to fame.”

    George Mendonsa

    Rita Mendonsa future wife of George Mendonsa behind the kissing couple

    George Mendonsa or George Mendonça, a native of Newport, Rhode Island, was named by the Naval War College in August 2005 as the Sailor in the picture due to some compelling evidence including picture analysis by the Mitsubishi Electric Research Lab (MERL) in Cambridge, MA, matching scars and tattoo spotted by photo experts and the testimony of one Richard M Benson a photo analysis expert and professor of photographic studies plus the former Dean of the School of Arts at Yale University. Mr. Benson has stated that “It is therefore my opinion, based upon a reasonable degree of certainty, that George Mendonsa is the sailor in Mr. Eisenstaedt’s famous photograph.” George, on leave from the USS THE SULLIVANS (DD-537), was watching a movie with his date, future wife Rita Mendonsa, at Radio City Music Hall when the doors opened and people started screaming the war was over. George and Rita took part in the partying on the street but when they couldn’t get into the packed bars decided to walk down the street. It then that George saw a nurse walk by and took her into his arms and kissed her, “I had quite a few drinks that day and I considered her one of the troops–she was a nurse.” In one of the four pictures that Eisenstaedt took you can actually see Rita in the background.

    Mr. Mendonsa’s daughter, Sharon Molleur, reported that her father suffered a seizure and died on Sunday, February 17, 2019, after a fall at a care home in Middletown, Rhode Island. He was 95 years old.

    Alfred Eisenstadt: Sailor Kiss, VJ Day, 1945

    With Color

    Other Sailors

    Bill Swicegood, Clarence “Bud” Harding, Wallace C. Fowler and others have claimed to be the sailor but none have the evidence that supports Mendonsa’s claim. Even with all the evidence supporting Mendonsa as the sailor ex-NYPD officer, Carl Muscarello still insists that he is the kisser, “I am 100 percent sure. There is no doubt in my mind.” While Muscarello doesn’t have scientific proof behind the claim he does have the backing of the Edith Shain who the photographer, Alfred Eisenstaedt, backed before he passed away. Another supporter of Muscarello was his mother, “When the magazine came out, my mother called me and said I was in LIFE magazine. You couldn’t see my face, but she knew the birthmark on the back of my right hand. She said, ‘Don’t you know you shouldn’t be kissing strange women? You’ll get a disease.’ I said, ‘Mom, the lady’s a nurse.’ She said, ‘They’re the worst kind, always around sick people.’ “. Muscarello who lives down in Florida was recently in the news when he and his son tackled a golf club-wielding home invader who surprised the family while eating breakfast.

    As of 1995 LIFE magazine has never identified who was in the picture.

    Alfred Eisenstaedt

    Alfred Eisenstaedt (December 6, 1898, Dirschau, West Prussia (now Tczew, Poland) – August 24, 1995, Jackson Heights, Queens, New York) was a photographer and photojournalist, best remembered for his photograph capturing the celebration of V-J Day. Eisenstaedt immigrated to the United States in 1935, where he lived the rest of his life. Eisenstaedt worked as a photographer for Life magazine from 1936 to 1972. His photos of news events and celebrities, such as Sophia Loren and Ernest Hemingway, were featured on more than 90 Life covers.


    The advent of the #MeToo movement caused society to reevaluate this iconic kiss. After the “Kisser” Mendonsa died a statue of the kiss was vandalized, with someone spraying #MeToo on the nurse’s leg. Several of nurses recall being kissed against their will that day but write it off as being caught up in the moment. BBC reported that “After Ms Zimmer’s death in 2016, her son told the New York Times his mother did not view the kiss negatively.”

    More Famous Images

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    We Can Do It!

    Behind the camera: J. Howard Miller
    Where: Miller’s Studio
    Photo Summary: A poster put out by the US government to encourage women to head out into the workforce
    Picture Taken: 1943
    This image is in the public domain because it was taken by a federal employee, J. Howard Miller

    While other girls attend their fav’rite cocktail bar
    Sippin’ dry martinis, munchin’ caviar
    There’s a girl who’s really puttin’ them to shame
    Rosie – is her name
    All the day long, whether rain or shine
    She’s a part of the Assembly Line
    She’s makin’ history, workin’ for Victory
    Rosie! The Riveter

    -Rosie The Riveter was written by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb

    After the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, America entered the war. Companies who had been already producing some war material for the Allies switched to full wartime mobilization. As factories stepped up production, they faced an immediate problem, manpower shortages. Men working in the American labor force left by the millions to serve their country in the military. Companies who had just signed lucrative contracts with the government desperately needed workers and they turned to as yet untapped resource, American Women.

    Women in the Workforce

    Women in the workforce were not a new thing, especially for minorities and the poor. These working women though were mostly restricted to the traditional female professions. The attitudes of the time placed the ideal role of a woman as a homemaker raising the kids. Compounding this way of thinking was the high unemployment during the Depression. Most saw women in the workforce as taking jobs from unemployed men. The American government seeing that it would have to smash these mind-sets launched a media campaign to get women into the labor force.

    [bigquote quote=”Do the job he left behind” author=” American government slogan”]
    With slogans like, “Do the job he left behind” or “The more women at work, the sooner we will win”, the government launched a media blitz intended to get more ladies into the factories. The “US Office of War information” even put out a “Magazine war guide” for publishers. It had ideas, slogans, and information on how to recruit women workers. Publishers were told to write articles depicting work as glamorous, with high pay but most of all emphasizing patriotism, doing all you can do. Articles soon appeared talking about how because of the war it would not reflect poorly on the man that he was not the sole moneymaker, that a family with a working wife was a patriotic family. Posters and ads of the time also stressed that the female in the factories scenario was temporary, to allay the fear that women were taking Men’s jobs. While making more money was also pressed as a plus, the government warned that the more money coming in shouldn’t be overemphasized or else women might go crazy with spending and cause inflation.

    The Empowerment Posters

    Part of the campaign was a series of propaganda posters encouraging all Americans to buckle down and do their part. An example of this was a poster created by Westinghouse War Production Co-Ordinating Committee artist J. Howard Miller. It was simply entitled “We Can Do it”. He based the poster on a United Press International (UPI) picture taken of Geraldine Doyle working at a factory. At the time of the poster’s release, the woman pictured wasn’t named Rosie. The Rosie name came later when a popular patriotic song called “Rosie the Riveter” was released. The song was written by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb and recorded by big band leader Kay Kyser. The name Rosie still wasn’t cemented as a household name until the Norman Rockwell Cover on the Saturday Evening Post came out.

    Feminist Icon?

    Recent research has been done on the purpose behind the “We Can Do it” poster. While modern culture has assigned the poster a symbol of women’s rights the original purpose may have been much different. Analysis by Gwen Sharp and Lisa Wade have put forward the theory that the poster wasn’t created to be a feminist symbol rather it was a short run poster hoping to promote management and prevent strike action. They note that the poster has instructions in the bottom left corner telling to hang the poster from Feb 15 to Feb 28 [1943]. Also, a small company badge on her shirt collar is noticeable, so rather than being a poster for the general public Sharp and Wade claim that it was an internal poster for employees that already worked for the company not a call-up for more women from the general public.

    the message wasn’t designed to empower workers, female or otherwise; it was meant, as were the other posters in the series, to control Westinghouse’s workforce … Images of happy workers expressing support for the war effort and praising workers’ abilities served as propaganda meant to persuade workers to identify themselves, management, and Westinghouse itself as a unified team with similar interests and goals … Kimble and Olson write: “…by addressing workers as ‘we,’ the pronoun obfuscated sharp controversies within labor over communism, red-baiting, discrimination, and other heartfelt sources of divisiveness.” Indeed, the authors note that such measures were effective, since “patriotism could be invoked to circumvent strikes and characterize workers’ unrest as unAmerican.” Today, we see the poster through a lens shaped by what came later, particularly Second Wave feminism.
    –Gwen Sharp and Lisa Wade

    Rockwell’s Rossie

    The May 29, 1943, edition featured Rockwell’s take on women doing their part for the war effort. Rockwell painted a statuesque factory worker named Rosie who contemplating the greater things in life while eating lunch is crushing a copy of Mein Kempf under her feet. Rockwell based the image on Michelangelo’s depiction of the prophet Isaiah in the Sistine Chapel. Like many of his painting, he used a model from Arlington, Vermont the small town where he spent most of his time. The 19-year-old telephone operator, Mary Doyle (later Married as Mary Keefe) posed for the picture and was quite surprised when Rockwell turned her small frame into the muscled Rosie seen on the cover.

    Real life Rosies

    The popular Rockwell cover and hit song prompted the government to launch a campaign promoting the fictional character of “Rosie the Riveter”. Rosie was seen as the ideal woman worker: loyal, efficient, patriotic, and pretty. Media were encouraged to go along and soon they started to find their own real-life Roses. One such Rosie was Rose Hicker, who with her rivet partner was reported to have broken a record for driving rivets into a Grumman “Avenger” Bomber at the Eastern Aircraft Company in Tarrytown, New York. Hollywood star Walter Pidgeon discovered his own Rosie when touring the FORD Willow Run Aircraft Factory in Michigan. He found a Rose Monroe riveting plane parts together, he quickly had her moved from the factory floor to the film stage, playing herself riveting in war bond films.

    The similarities between the “We can do it!” poster and the Rockwell cover ensured that both women were labelled as Rosie. Soon every woman in the workforce was referred to as Rosie. Women who worked in the factories during World War II are still called Rosies. The Miller poster and Rockwell’s cover were seen as the ideal Rosie and each had a huge demand. Yet, Rockwell’s cover was copyrighted which slowed reproduction. Miller’s poster had no restrictions and it was soon on everything, as everybody wanted to show their support for Rosie. The Rockwell cover, while it had helped create the Rosie legend, slowly faded from view and Miller’s “We can do it” poster, rechristened Rosie the Riveter became the image everyone remembers.

    Millions of women took up the call to fill the factory the floor’s vacated by the men during World War II. It became so hard to find women to do traditional jobs that many companies had to shut down, for example, some 600 hundred laundries were forced to close due to lack of workers. While women enjoyed the independence and money their jobs brought, after the war as the men started to return home most left or were forced from their jobs. They went either back into the home or into traditional female employment roles but not all left, as after World War II women in the workforce would never dip below pre-war levels.

    Geraldine Doyle

    For decades Geraldine Doyle, born July 31, 1924, was thought of a woman who inspired Miller’s poster. She has toured the country signing Rosie the Riveter posters. She didn’t make the claim she was Rosie until the 1980s when she found the picture in a 1942 Modern Maturity Magazine. Only 17 when she took the job at a metal pressing plant near Ann Arbor, Michigan she quit after only two weeks upon finding out that another woman had badly injured her hand doing the same job. Doyle loved to play the cello and was worried that the job might cripple her. In 1992 the U.S. Postal service created a stamp with Rosie’s Image. Geraldine Doyle died on December 26, 2010, from complications of her arthritis. Her daughter Stephanie Gregg said that Doyle was quick to correct people who thought she was the original women worker. “She would say that she was the ‘We Can Do It!” girl,” Gregg said. “She never wanted to take anything away from all the Rosie the Riveters who were doing the riveting.”

    Naomi Parker Fraley, the real Rosie the Riveter

    Naomi Parker Fraley

    The image that started it all

    When Doyle died in 2010 associate professor of communication at Seton Hall University in New Jersey James Kimble began to see holes in her claim to be the woman who inspired the poster. Central to the identity of Rossie is an uncaptioned photo that is claimed to have inspired J. Howard Miller. After years of research, in 2015, he made a breakthrough when he found a series of photos with the caption that listed the woman in the photo as Naomi Parker Fraley.

    Pretty Naomi Parker looks like she might catch her nose in the turret lathe she is operating, [The women wore] safety clothes instead of feminine frills … And the girls don’t mind – they’re doing their part. Glamour is secondary these days.

    Naomi Parker Fraley was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in August 1921 to mining engineer Joseph Parker and his wife Esther. Eventually, they had eight children and moved throughout the country following mine work. After America joined WWII 20-year-old Naomi got a job at the Naval Air Station in Alameda with her sister Ada. It was there that a photographer took her picture. She didn’t make the connection until 2011 when she saw learned that the picture was the inspiration of the poster. No one would listen to her claims until Professor Kimble tracked her down to her home in California. When they went public the Omaha World-Herald asked how it felt to finally be known as the real Rosie she shouted through the phone “Victory! Victory! Victory!”

    Mrs. Fraley’s first marriage, to Joseph Blankenship, resulted in a son Joseph Blankenship but the marriage ended in divorce. She got married again but her second husband, John Muhlig, died in 1971. Her third husband, Charles Fraley, died in 1998 after 19 years of marriage. On January 20, 2018, Naomi Parker Fraley herself died while living with her sister.

    In 2016 in an interview with People Magazine she said: “The women of this country these days need some icons, If they think I’m one, I’m happy.”

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    Farrah Fawcett – Swimsuit Poster

    Behind the camera: Bruce McBroom
    Where: Farrah Fawcett’s home in Bel Air, California
    Photo Summary: Farrah Fawcett in a red swimsuit
    Picture Taken: Summer of 1976 poster released in Sept of same year

    During World War II Betty Grable was the pin-up queen. After the war, the title was passed from various Hollywood bombshell to Hollywood bombshell but Farrah Fawcett ruled the 70’s. This poster which was released the same year as when she played Jill Munroe on the TV show Charlie’s Angels went on to sell a record 12 million copies making it one of the most famous pin-ups ever.

    Pro Arts Inc.

    Mike and Ted Trikilis dropped out of Kent State in 1967 to open an art gallery that sold posters. A shipment of anti-war posters soon became their number one breadwinner and so they sold the store and became the Pro Arts Inc. Ohio’s number one and only Distributor of Youth-Oriented Posters. They struggled for a few years but then a poster of the Fonz sold more than a quarter-million copies which bumped Pro Arts in the big leagues.
    In April of 1976, Ted was working on his farm with the neighbor’s son Pat Partridge when Pat mentioned that if he running Pro Arts he would make a poster of Farrah Fawcett. He admitted that he and his friends had been buying women’s magazines just to get pictures of her from the Wella Balsam shampoo ads. Ted had never heard of Farrah but knew that if students were using ads of her then a poster would be a big seller. He soon got in touch with Fawcett’s agent Rick Hersh and tried to get a deal. After Ted finished talking Hersh was puzzled and asked, “What type of product is Farrah to be selling on the poster?” “We want to sell Farrah on the Farrah poster,” Ted explained.
    Hersh passed the idea on to Farrah who thought it was “cute” and said she had a photographer she likes to work with.

    Taking the picture

    When the photo was taken Farrah Fawcett was still an unknown actress wanting to make it big. She hadn’t yet signed on for her hit show Charlie’s Angels but got some work doing commercials. Bruce McBroom a freelance photographer had worked with Farrah before and so Pro Arts agreed to hire him for the shoot. They wanted a bikini shot of the blond beauty.
    The shoot was at Farrah’s Bel Air, Calif., home of her and then-husband, actor Lee Majors. She did her own hair and they took the photos behind the home by their pool. She modelled several different swimsuits but McBroom didn’t get excited about any of the pictures he shot. When she came down in the now famous red one-piece swimsuit to cover a childhood scar on her stomach McBroom knew he had something. For the backdrop McBroom grabbed the old Indian Blanket covering his car seat and hung it up, “I should have told people I styled this,” McBroom says, “but the truth is it came off the front seat of my ’37 Chevy.”
    He took a number of shots, using his Nikon, including a sultry Farrah eating a cookie but Farrah chose the final frame that would make her one of the most famous people of the ’70s. In the early summer of ’76 McBroom sent a package of 25 shots of Farrah indicating which one Farrah wanted to use.

    I’ve since heard that when the guy in Cleveland got the pictures, he went, “First of all, where’s the bikini?” He told me he wasn’t ever gonna pay me, because he hated the pictures. But I guess he showed them around to people in his business and they changed his mind. It was Farrah’s pose, Farrah’s suit, Farrah’s idea. She picked that shot. She made a lot of money for him and for herself, and made me semifamous.

    McBroom was paid $1000 for the assignment but is happy to be associated with such a cultural icon. In 2006 on the 30th anniversary of the image, Fawcett said: “I was a little self-conscious [of the image], probably because my smile is so big, but it always more ‘me’ than any other photograph out there.”
    Ice Used?

    It was all Farrah
    – McBroom

    Legend has grown around Farrah’s prominent features and that she used ice but the photographer, McBroom has always dispelled the rumour saying, “It was all Farrah,”.

    Farrah Fawcett

    Farrah Fawcett (born Ferrah Leni Fawcett on February 2, 1947) in Corpus Christi, Texas to James William Fawcett and Pauline Alice Evans. She is the second of 2 daughters. Her older sister, Diane, passed away from lung cancer in 1998. As a child, Farrah displayed a natural athletic ability which her father encouraged. She was raised Roman Catholic. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority.

    In 1976, Fawcett played the character of Jill Munroe for one year in the successful TV series Charlie’s Angels. She was paid $5,000 an episode but with the popularity of the poster earned $400,000 in royalties. She broke her contract and left the show after one season. As settlement to a lawsuit stemming from her early departure, Fawcett appeared six more times as a guest star in seasons three and four.

    Fawcett went on to receive achieve critical praise and her first of three Emmy Award nominations as a serious actress for her role as a battered wife in the 1984 television movie The Burning Bed. She also won acclaim in the stage and movie version of Extremities, in which she played a rape victim who turns the tables on her attacker. She then played a predatory role in another miniseries, Small Sacrifices, receiving a second Emmy nomination. Her third Emmy nomination came in 2004 for her work in The Guardian. Fawcett has been nominated for several other awards as well including the Golden Globe Award and ACE awards.

    Fawcett posed in the December 1995 issue of Playboy, which became the best-selling issue of the 1990s, with over 4 million copies sold worldwide. She later posed for the July 1997 issue, which also became a top seller.
    Farrah Fawcett was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. At approximately 9:28 a.m., PDT on June 25, 2009, in the intensive care unit of Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California Farrah Fawcett lost her battle with cancer.

    More Famous Images

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    Kent State Shooting

    Behind the camera: Student photographer John Filo
    Where: Kent University
    Photo Summary: Mary Vecchio screaming as she crouched over the bleeding body of Jeffrey Miller
    Picture Taken: May 4, 1970

    Tin soldiers and Nixon’s comin’.
    We’re finally on our own.
    This summer I hear the drummin’.
    Four dead in Ohio.
    “Ohio” song by the folk band: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in protest of the Kent State massacre.

    On May 4, 1970 the obscure Kent University jumped to the world’s attention when 13 students where shot, 4 killed, by National Guard members. The National Guard had been brought on campus in response to earlier violent protests. Student photographer John Filo captured his famous picture of then 14-year-old runaway, Mary Vecchio, as she crouched over the bleeding body of Jeffrey Miller. The picture has become a photo that visually symbolized the protests of the Vietnam War era.

    Events leading to the May 4 shooting.

    Vietnam Protest

    Kent State Student

    From another angle

    Richard Nixon was elected to office in 1968 on the promise that he would remove American GIs from Vietnam. Since the ’68 election tensions had slowly been rising in America and especially on University campuses. Events such as the exposure of the secret bombing campaigns in Indochina, the My Lai massacre in November 1969 and then in December of the same year the first draft lottery in decades did nothing to calm campus life. On April 30th, 1970 President Nixon in a televised announcement told America that US forces had 5 days earlier invaded Cambodia to destroy Vietnamese bases there.

    Campuses across the country exploded in response to the acknowledgment of American forces opening a new front in Indochina. Students felt betrayed by Nixon. Instead of removing American forces from Indochina, with the Cambodian invasion, it appeared that Nixon was escalating the war. A growing war combined with the new draft system meant that there was a real risk of being forced to fight in a war that many saw as unjust and unnecessary.

    John Filo took another picture from a different angle

    John Filo took another picture from a different angle

    Protests were organized throughout the US including Kent State University. At Kent a huge demonstration on Fri, May 1st and again the following Mon, May 4th was planned. The May 1st rally was held on the University Commons area (an open grassy area for sports rallies). Speeches against the war and the Nixon administration were given, and a copy of the Constitution was buried to symbolize how the constitution was dead because Congress had never declared war. (Congress has to approve the country going to war) As the evening fell the protest moved onto the downtown streets of Kent where many incidents between protesters and police occurred. The town bars were ordered closed by the major, which made the crowds even more unhinged as drunken youths spilled on to the streets. Eventually, protest turned to riot and riot turned to violence with frustrated students smashing downtown store windows, vandalizing and looting stores.

    For every action there is a reaction

    Kent’s Mayor, Leroy Satrom declared a state of emergency in the town and appealed to the Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes for help. Governor Rhodes responded by sending in the National Guard to bring order to the town. The Guard was able to deploy almost right away because the Ohio National Guard were already on duty in Northeast Ohio.

    They’re the worst type of people
    -Governor James Rhodes on the Vietnam protesters

    The Guard arrived on campus on the evening of Sat, May 2nd to find a huge crowd of about 1000 students surrounding a burning ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) building on campus. Firemen were hindered in their efforts to put out the blaze by angry students. The wooden ROTC building would eventually burn to the ground. National Guard members spent the rest of the night arresting students and dispersing protesters with tear gas. No one was ever caught in regards to the arson of the ROTC building and there is much controversy surrounding who started the fire because the ROTC building was already abandoned, boarded up and scheduled for demolition. On Sun May 3rd, students awoke to their campus looking like a war zone with armed National Guard members everywhere, helicopters buzzing overhead and tanks stationed on University grounds. Sunday was a warm and sunny day and bemused students talked with Guardsmen occupying the campus. Governor James Rhodes gave a charged emotional speech where he gave a less than flattering portrayal of the student demonstrators: “They’re worse than the brownshirts and the communist element and also the nightriders and the vigilantes … They’re the worst type of people that we harbor in America. I think that we’re up against the strongest, well-trained, militant, revolutionary group that has ever assembled in America.”
    In the speech, the Governor also promised that he would get a court order banning future protests and gave the impression that something like martial law had been declared. Governor Rhodes actually had neither declared marital war or got a court injunction making campus demonstrations illegal but neither the National Guard or student organizers knew that. Sunday evening saw more protests and confrontations between protesters and guardsmen, exchanges between the two groups resulted in several students getting stabbed by Guardsmen bayonets.

    May 4, Kent State Shootings

    On Fri, May 1st, a protest was planned for noon on Mon May 4th and students attempted to follow through with the May 4 protest. However, the University attempted to stop the event and handed out thousands of leaflets that said the protest was cancelled. Despite the University efforts about 2,000 people gathered on the university’s Commons. Kent University breaks the crowd into:

    … about 500 core demonstrators were gathered around the Victory Bell at one end of the Commons, another 1000 people were “cheerleaders” supporting the active demonstrators, and an additional 1500 people were spectators standing around the perimeter of the Commons. Across the Commons at the burned-out ROTC building stood about 100 Ohio National

    Even though the protest was going on the campus was still open, people were going to class, having lunch and doing University things.

    Fix Bayonets

    General Canterbury the commander of the Guardsmen ordered that the demonstration be dispersed to prevent any more outbreaks of violence. The protesters were first told to break up through loudspeakers and when that didn’t work teargas was fired into the crowds. However, the wind that day quickly dispersed the gas making it unsuccessful in breaking up the rally. Canterbury then ordered the Guardsmen, with bayonets fixed, to march across the commons in an effort to break up the crowd. The crowd was forced up, Blanket Hill, and down the other side towards the parking lot and practice football field. The Guardsmen with little or no crowd control experience soon became separated, with most of the men following the students directly. The 77 men who followed the students soon became trapped when their march lead them to a football field surrounded on three sides with a fence. Students at this time had still not dispersed and started to yell and throw rocks at the Guardsmen. There is some debate about how threatened this rock throwing was with protesters claiming that because of the distance only a few rocks hit the Guardsmen:

    I did see one rock hit a Guardsman. And I say this because there were reports that came out of the press that fire hydrants had been thrown, Guardsmen had been bleeding and there was lots of lies afterwards, but I was right there, in the middle of it — nada — did not happen. But the one rock that I did see bounced off of a Guardsman’s helmet. And we’re talkin’ like a long way away. These guys were way down in the field. And that was that. So the Guard were in a crouching position with their guns out to shoot. Like you would think the Continental Army was.
    -Carol Mirman – Student present during the Kent State shootings

    Eye Witness

    In 2013 on popular website Reddit a man claiming to be one of the men in the background posted his memories of the incident:

    The guy with the white bandana and behind him and the fence is a guy with blond hair and long sideburns……well that is me at age 19. … I attended Kent State for one semester and was not a resident on campus May 4. … May 4 was a beautiful warm sunny day. At Kent there was a cafeteria on a rise and students often took their lunches outside on the grass. … I was walking from my class when the shots were fired and then saw people running. I headed to my car. I walked from Taylor Hall and there was a lot of confusion. I never saw Jeffrey Miller nor the photographer nor the girl screaming because there was another student down in the grass (later learned it was Dean Kahler) just a few feet away. In fact you can see people in the foreground pointing toward him but you can’t see him. Also the guard troops were sweeping up the hill the other direction so I could get behind them and get to my car. Several of us stopped around Dean who was alive but could not move. We stayed near him milling about being totally useless until the medics got there. I then went to my car and drove home.

    Kent State is a large campus and had large open spaces (at least back then). Also at the time Kent was mainly a commuter college so you pretty much drove there, went to class, went home and minded your own business. It didn’t have a great reputation and the joke in Cleveland at the time was “if you can’t go to college, go to Kent.” The other thing about the photo is that it is essentially pointing away from the action and the guard. So those you see in the photo are stragglers on the fringe. Finally, this all happened around normal class change time so many people were unaware of what was going on. In fact, at the time I was walking in the photo I wasn’t even sure what had happened.


    The Guard stayed on the field for about 10 minutes and it was here that several Guardsmen could be seen huddling together as if planning something. The Guard then began marching back the way they came, off the practice football field and back up Blanket Hill.

    When they got to the top of the hill 28 of the 77 Guardsmen started firing their rifles and pistols. Investigations after the Kent State Shooting determined that altogether between 61 and 67 shots were fired in a 13 second period. John Filo a senior photojournalism student at Kent was present, with his Nikkormat camera using Tri X film, when they started shooting. Like many students that day John assumed the Guard was using blanks and quickly ran towards the Guard to get pictures while dodging fleeing students running the other way:

    When I put the camera back to my eye, I noticed a particular guardsman pointing at me. I said, “I’ll get a picture of this,” and his rifle went off. And almost simultaneously, as his rifle went off, a halo of dust came off a sculpture next to me, and the bullet lodged in a tree.
    I dropped my camera in the realization that it was live ammunition. I don’t know what gave me the combination of innocence and stupidity…but I never took cover. I was the only one standing at the hillside. … and turned slowly to my left, what caught my eye on the street was the body of Jeffrey Miller and the volume of blood that was flowing from his body was as if someone tipped over a bucket. I started to flee–run down the hill and stopped myself. “Where are you going?” I said to myself, “This is why you are here!”
    And I started to take pictures again. And the picture I made then was of Jeffrey Miller’s body lying in the street and people starting to come out of shelter, and then a picture where Mary Vecchio was just entering the frame. I knew I was running out of film. I could see the emotion welling up inside of her. She began to sob. And it culminated in her saying an exclamation. I can’t remember what she said exactly … something like, “Oh, my God!”

    Investigations would later try to answer the question, why did the National Guard open fire? The Adjutant General of the Ohio National Guard told reporters that a sniper had fired on the guards but this claim was proven untrue. The Guard themselves claim that they felt their lives threatened by the protesters yet none of the protesters were close to the Guard. Joseph Lewis the closest verified protester to the Guardsmen and was shot in the abdomen and left lower leg at a distance of about 60 feet. He was shot while standing still and giving a middle finger to the guard. Victims that day and the distance from the Guard line:


    (estimated distance from the National Guard line):

    • Allison Krause (343 feet/105 meters)
    • Jeffrey Glen Miller (265 feet/81 meters)
    • Sandra Lee Scheuer (390 feet/119 meters)
    • William Knox Schroeder (382 feet/116 meters)


    (estimated distance from the National Guard line)

    • Thomas Mark Grace (unverified; between 60 and 200 feet/18 and 61 meters)
    • Joseph Lewis (71 feet/22 meters)
    • John Cleary (110 feet/34 meters)
    • Alan Canfora (225 feet/69 meters)
    • Dean Kahler (300 feet/91 meters)
    • Douglas Wrentmore (329 feet/100 meters)
    • James Dennis Russell (375 feet/114 meters)
    • Robert Stamps (495 feet/151 meters)
    • Donald MacKenzie (750 feet/229 meters)’

    John Filo remembers if the Guardsmen cared about what happened after the shooting had stopped:

    No. That was evident in that the squad that came over to examine the body of Jeffrey Miller was armed — six or seven of them. No one even bent down to get a closer look. The sergeant who did not have a rifle rolled the body of Jeffrey Miller over with his boot. That incensed some people. The soldiers regrouped and backed away from the body and away from the crowd of people … It could have taken 5 minutes. It is hard to calculate time.

    Calls for Revenge

    The Guardsmen retreated from the top of the hill to rejoin the other National Guard members at the perimeter of the burnt ROTC building. By this time students had again begun milling around the commons and what had happened started to sink in. Before the shootings, there was some question on how much of a danger the students posed to Guardsmen but after the shooting, there was no question with many calling for an all-out assault on the National Guard. ‘It’s gone too far’
    With the students still not dispersed the Guard again approached and warned the faculty present that the students had to disperse immediately. It was then that the late, geology professor and faculty marshal, Professor Glenn Frank made an emotional plea to the students to break-up and leave the area. The speech was recorded by the news director at the student radio station, Bob Carpenter.

    I don’t care if you’ve never listened to anybody before in your life. I am begging you right now, if you don’t disperse right now, they’re going to move in. It will only be a slaughter. Please, listen to me. Jesus Christ, I don’t want to be part of this. Listen to me…
    –Professor Glenn Frank

    The faculty through their pleas were finally able to get the crowd to disperse, Alan Frank the son of Professor Glen was there in the crowd that day, “He absolutely saved my life and hundreds of others,” said Frank.



    University shuts down

    While the bodies were being removed from campus and the wounded taken away by ambulance, Kent State University President Robert White was planning to shut down the University. A court injunction from Common Pleas Judge Albert Caris made the closure indefinite. Classes didn’t start again until the summer of 1970. Faculty at Kent made heroic efforts to allow students to finish their semester via papers mailed to instructors and classes held off-campus.

    Nation wide protests

    when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy
    -Nixon Whitehouse

    The news of Kent State spread quickly across the nation and this incident is widely regarded as the sole reason behind the only nationwide student strike in history. Hundreds of campuses shut down with over 4 million students protesting.

    The next Saturday had protesters assembling in Washington to protest both the Kent State shooting and the Cambodian invasion. As the numbers grew the White House grew afraid of another “Kent” on the Whitehouse grounds. They arranged to have two rings of D.C. transit buses parked bumper-to-bumper. Paranoid government officials saw the gathering through the eyes of cold war soldiers with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff claiming that the buses were set up, because “this same group that was at Kent” was plotting to get a student killed in front of the Oval Office.
    Publicly President Nixon expressed regret at the student deaths, “This should remind us all once again that when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy.” He invited Kent State students to the White House stated that the shootings should never have happened. Yet he had earlier called student protesters “bums” and in the Whitehouse tapes it was revealed that he had asked the Secret Service to beat up student protesters, and felt that the Kent State victims “had it coming”.
    Many in America shared this “had it coming” attitude and the incident further divided the country. Incidents erupted around the country. Anti-Vietnam supporters demanded that flags be flown at half-mast in respect of the slain at Kent and on the other side pro-government supporters demanding that flags be raised from half-mast.

    New Evidence


    FBI Informant

    In 2010, the forty year anniversary of the shooting, new evidence emerged from the post-Kent-Shooting investigation. In June of 1970 Attorney General John Mitchell told the public “there was no sniper”. A report submitted to Attorney General John Mitchell in June 1970 stated: “there was no sniper” who could have fired at the guardsmen before the killings. It was also revealed that six guardsmen told the FBI that their lives were not in danger and that “it was not a shooting situation.”

    However, over time declassified FBI documents show that at least two bullet fragments were found in a tree and ground around the guards. Also, and perhaps the reason the information was suppressed, the FBI had a mole in the student protest movement. Terry Norman, a part-time student at Kent, was working for the FBI and was armed with a gun that the FBI was able to determine had been fired on that day.

    Audio tape

    Activist Alan Canfora uncovered a copy of the “Strubbe Tape” in the Yale University archive. The Strubbe Tape was an audio recording by student Terry Strubbe who recorded the whole protest from his dorm window. In the 70s this tape was investigated but then destroyed by the FBI. The new uncovered copy was processed using modern technology in 2010 and it revealed that there were a number of pistol shots then someone giving orders to the guard members “Guard! . . . All right, prepare to fire!” the analysts reported hearing, followed by another voice yelling ‘Get down!’ The first voice then says, ‘Guard, fi–,’ “ the word fire being drowned out by gunshots. The U.S. Justice Department refused to reopen the case with this new evidence citing legal obstacles to further prosecutions and doubts about the new evidence.

    Edited version of Kent State

    The pole! The pole is missing.


    Kent State Shooting Full Filo Unedited

    The unedited version most seen


    Photo Edit

    An altered version of the picture has over the years been published instead of the real Filo Pulitzer Prize Winner. The altered version appeared as recently as May 1st, 1995 in the LIFE magazine article, “Caught in time” Pg 38.

    In Memory of

    Kent State University sponsored an official annual tribute until 1976 when the administration announced it would no longer support an official University commemoration. It was here that the May 4 Task Force was created. Made up of students, and community members the May 4 Task Force task is to organize a commemoration every year to those that died during the Kent State Shooting.

    It wasn’t until 1990 that a physical memorial for the events of May 4, 1970 was dedicated. The memorial was shrouded in controversy and in the end, only 7% of the design was constructed. A 1978 sculpture of the biblical Abraham set to sacrifice his son Isaac was also deemed too controversial and was not allowed on campus. (The statue eventually went to Princeton University)

    On Kent Campus a work of land art, Partially Buried Woodshed, by Robert Smithson commissioned in January 1970 had an inscription allowed it to be associated by some with the Kent State Shootings.

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    USS Arizona Struck

    Behind the camera: From the Naval archives, Photo #: NH 97379. Unknown Photographer
    Where: Battleship row, Pearl Harbor
    Photo Summary: USS Arizona (BB-39) a flame. The picture is taken looking from the side of the USS Arizona. To the left you can Number Two 14inch/45 triple gun turret pointing forward. The supporting structure for the gun director tripod has collapsed and the tripod is tilting forward towards the front of the ship giving the wreck its distinctive appearance.
    Picture Taken:
    This image is in the public domain because it was taken by a military photographer

    United States President, Franklin D. Roosevelt and many Americans saw the war in Europe as a threat that would eventually pull Isolationist America into the war. While Roosevelt had developed a contingency plan to get troops in Continental Europe by 1943 called Rainbow Five, he faced heavy opposition from people against entering the war. This all changed on Dec 7 as after the attack the nation united against a common threat. This picture of the USS Arizona burning, sunken, broken is probably the most famous picture from the Japanese strike. It has come to represent the attack and since it’s a federal photograph with no copyrights, it is often used when talking about the attack.

    Tora Tora Tora

    As the Japanese strike force flew over Pearl Harbor most American service members thought it was nothing more than a drill. It wasn’t until the attack on Pearl Harbor began at 7:53 a.m and the bombs started dropping that people knew it was for real.
    Japanese aircraft from six fleet carriers struck the Pacific Fleet as it lay in port at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese pilots had been trained to strike the battleships that were lined up in Harbor. Onboard Arizona, the ship’s air raid alarm went off about 07:55, and the ship went to general quarters soon thereafter. Shortly after 08:00 a bomb dropped by a high-altitude Kate bomber (aka Kate) from the Japanese carrier Kaga hit the side of the #4 turret and glanced off into the deck below and started a small fire but detonated near the officers’ mess incinerating most Arizona’s ranking officers.
    A number of bombs and torpedoes hit Arizona. The repair ship USS Vestal was tied up to Arizona so that Arizona itself was between Ford Island to the west and the Vestal and open harbor water to the east. The torpedoes that hit Arizona actually went under the smaller Vestal and exploded under the waterline of the Battleship. Private First Class James Cory who was on Arizona remembered the torpedoes hitting, “you could feel the decks-the compartments-being penetrated just like you could hold a taut piece of cloth or two … separated by you fingers and feel a needle go through them … I don’t know about other people but I thought, ‘Gee, I might get killed!'”

    The Arizona magazine explosion

    At 08:06 a Kate, from the carrier Hiryū, dropped a bomb, a converted 16.1″ naval shell, that hit between the starboard Turrets #1 & 2. The explosion which destroyed the forward part of Arizona was due to the detonation of the ammunition magazine, located in an armored section under the deck. Most experts seem to agree that the bomb could hardly have pierced the armor. Instead, it seems widely accepted that the black powder magazine (used for aircraft catapults) detonated first, igniting the smokeless powder magazine (used for the ship’s main armament). A 1944 BUSHIP report suggests that a hatch leading to the black powder magazine was left open, with perhaps inflammable materials stocked nearby. A US Navy historical site goes as far as to suggest that black powder might have been stockpiled outside of the armored magazine. Due to the total destruction of Arizona, it seems unlikely that a definitive answer will ever be found. Credit for the hit was officially given to Japanese pilot Tadashi Kusumi. The cataclysmic explosion ripped through the forward part of the ship, touching off fierce fires that burned for two days.
    The blast that destroyed Arizona and sank her at her berth alongside Ford Island consumed the lives of 1,177 of the 1,400 on board at the time—over half of the casualties suffered by the entire fleet on the “Date which will live in infamy.”

    Once the fires were finally extinguished and the surviving crew were able to board to check the ship’s status they found a burnt-out hull. The senior officer in charge submitted a status report to Admiral Kimmel saying,”The USS ARIZONA is a total loss except the following is believed salvageable: fifty-calibre machine guns in maintop, searchlights on after searchlight platform, the low catapult on the quarterdeck and the guns of numbers 3 and 4 turrets” (Memorandum, Commanding Officer, USS ARIZONA to CINCPAC, Pearl Harbor, T.H., December 13, 1941.
    It is commonly yet incorrectly believed that Arizona remains perpetually in commission but she was placed “in ordinary” at Pearl Harbor on December 29, 1941, and Arizona was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on December 1, 1942. After her main battery turrets and guns were salvaged to be used as coast defence guns the wreck was cut down so that very little of the superstructure lay above water.

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