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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wartime kisses

These beautiful photos by Alfred Eisenstaedt show couples sharing a last kiss before the soldiers departed for war, at Penn Station in 1943. How stirring to wonder how many of the couples were reunited, or if this was their very last kiss. Can you imagine how hard it would be to let each other go?

Here are seven more photos, below...
(Photos by Alfred Eisenstaedt from the Life Archives. Via The Wall Breakers)

84 comments:

margaux said...

heartbreaking. i cannot imagine.

Elena Ni said...

I could not stand the pressure...saying goodbye for some months is hard enough, saying goodbye not knowing if you'll see each other again is just too much.

Katie said...

Incredibly romantic and heartbreaking all at same time.

Here's to peace and true love!

xoxo

ains_rae said...

I know what this kind of kiss feels like. My husband was in Afghanistan for 9 months in 2008-2009. I can still remember what I whispered in his ear, and what he said back. I can remember what his heart beat felt like against my chest. He came home safely, and that kiss was just as bitter sweet.

Erica C. said...

These brought a tear to my eye. How heartbreaking, I can't imagine saying goodbye to my husband like that. It's sad that men and women still have to do this today, too. Also, is it superficial of me to also notice how fashionable and put together the women looked? The fashion back then was gorgeous.

Lisa said...

No, I cannot imagine and I have nothing but immense respect and thanks for the many, many spouses, partners, families, and loved ones who do this with any amount of composure. It brings me to tears just thinking of what it might feel like.

Lana said...

A big thank you to your husband for serving our country. I am so happy that you were happily reunited! :)

Meredith said...

My great aunt's first husband was killed in WWII. And I'm not positive that they knew it at the time that he left, but she was pregnant. He got a letter with a photo of his daughter and responded, and he was shot down shortly thereafter.

That was just such a different generation, though. She moved on, remarried and had a second child, and spoke very little of her first husband (presumably out of respect to her second husband). It really was not until after her death that her daughter really started trying to connect more to her father's memory.

It makes me so incredibly sad to think about it. Recently my cousin and I were going through old photos as we prepared for a family member's funeral, and we came across a photo of her as a toddler kissing a framed photograph of her daddy in uniform. It was so heartbreaking.

Britt said...

These photos are so hauntingly beautiful. The ones where they are clutching each other so tight are especially heartbreaking. I so hope they were all reunited, but in 1943, who knows sadly :(

Kate @ NaturaStride.com said...

These are heartbreaking. They remind me of when my dad left for Desert Storm back in 1990. I was only 8. But I clearly remember watching my mom and dad hugging while they were saying goodbye, and that my mom looked panicked.
Over the following year, I have vivid memories of sitting on our stairs with my mom while she cried.
But even more clearly I remember the day my dad came home and watching them hug when he got off the plane! My most treasured memory.

Chloe Moon said...

How beautiful that these raw moments were caught on film! Wow...I want to say that people don't kiss like that anymore! So beautiful and real! =)

Ergo - Blog

Amie Willoughby said...

Oh my goodness, these photos are so moving. Absolutely beautiful & heartbreaking & they make me so so so grateful for our military & their brave families!

herestohappinesses.blogspot.com

aweighwithme.com said...

Beautiful and haunting... I can't imagine what they were feeling.

Lizzy Lee said...

One of my favorite stories of my grandparents is when my Grandpa returned from the war, my Grandma and his parents met him at Penn Station. He picked my Grandma up and spun her all around, just like in the movies. My Grandma recently told me that living through that war made them really cherish their time together (63 years married in the end) and live life to the fullest.

Lauren Knight said...

This gets me every time. Have you ever read "The History of Love?" The memories of love during unthinkable wartime is haunting. So beautiful, so sad. Thanks for sharing!

sarah nadine said...

another example how photographs can carry such emotion/memory/reality. i thank God, to this day, that i haven't had to say goodbye that way.


xo

tinajo said...

Oh, just beautiful pics - can´t even imagine how they felt!

Sharon Chironda said...

Very touching and beautiful to see these intimate moments of love that endures and overcomes distance and threat of danger. Thank you to all the women and men that sacrifice more than their lives for our nations (I'm from Canada). We sometimes forget that they suspend love as well. Some men and women leave newly budding relationships, courtships, and marriages.

ezrazoe said...

awwwww Eisenstaedt use to live in our apartment building here in Jackson Heights and I hear he did some great views of Manhattan from our roof as well ... but the romantic close ups are amazing! Thanks for sharing! What an amazing era .. ezrazoe.wordpress.com

Lizz said...

Goosebumps! Oh my goodness, I can't even imagine what this feels like. Thank you to all who serve our country...and to their families for supporting them!

Kleine Wunder ├╝berall said...

Heartbreaking - yes. Romantic - no, not at all. There's nothing worse than imagining my beloved one and me in this situation. Those moments may have been very tender (many of them), but if you include all this fear into the equation, there's absolutely no romance left. (Love and fear shouldn't have to be that close to each other.)

Cassandra Marie // Oh Leander said...

These are beautiful.

Ira Kharchenko said...

OMG! So beautiful and lovely:)

http://theprintedsea.blogspot.de/

Joan said...

What beautiful pictures. It's amazing how so many years later, the emotions captured in these photographs are still so visceral and raw.

Thank you for sharing these heartfelt photographs!

Cravingforbarneys said...

Love all these beautiful pictures!!

My daily outfits in http://cravingforbarneys.com

McKenna Bleu said...

This hits home with me! Waiting for my first kiss from my hubby after 7 months deployment. 16 days and counting!!! Thanks for sharing:)

www.McKennaBleu.blogspot.com

Stella Dobry said...

These totally made me teary-eyed. I can't imagine what they felt in that moment. I hope my husband and I never have to face a similar situation. It makes me really grateful for the men and women who choose to serve our country, so that the rest of us can enjoy the comforts and freedom of home. I'm sure there are thousands of couples today who have experienced something similar.

mary said...

These almost make me cry just looking at them. My now-husband had a hard time finding a job when we graduated college and was considering joining the army. We were engaged, and I told him I couldn't marry someone in the service. I just don't think I'd have that kind of strength. Thankfully, he found a great job a few months later. So much respect for the army wives who sacrifice so much - sometimes I feel like their jobs must be as hard as the soldiers.

LandOfTheGlam said...

This melts my heart! It's amazing that a photo of complete strangers can have such an emotional impact on other people.

http://landoftheglam.blogspot.com

madiebaby said...

Ack, these are all beautiful but the one 2nd from the bottom really gets me! I just stared at it for a while... That look on his face says it all. Lovely post.

Alexa said...

these are heartbreaking. such incredible photos.

VintageDanielle said...

Wow, the photos are breathtaking, literally. I don't know anything about the people in them but I'm already blubbering and smiling at the same time.

Kate @ NaturaStride.com said...

Love it.

Lara said...

Joanna, you have to see this "retrouvailles"

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3893613597873

Millie said...

I know what this feels like and will experience it again next month. My hubby is with the USMC and deployed in 2010 and will now be going to Afghanistan this year. I am scared but will support him and pray for him always. He is my hero. And I look forward to that kiss when he returns.

Katrine Johnson said...

I know how this feels, my boyfriend was deployed to Afghanistan for the second time last month. The build up to him leaving is heart breaking. I honestly cant remember what we said when he left, but we don't say good bye, we say see you in a few months.

Its heartbreaking sending a loved one off to a war zone and these photos mean so much. Thank you for sharing them

Jaclyn said...

These photos are just heartbreaking. You are a hero too Millie. God Bless you and your husband.

CP and KW said...

what a gorgeous collection!
kw, ladies in navy

Beauty Fashion Skin Care Blog - Girlie Blog Seattle said...

True love does exist. I just adore old photos, especially of couples kissing. Thanks for sharing, Jo.
Girlie Blog Seattle | Cheap Makeup Reviews

allmussedup said...

My Dutch fella and I were 4 years long-distance before I finally moved to the Netherlands, and these pictures trigger all the bittersweet desperation I felt when one of us would fly away after a blissful weeklong visit together. Sigh.

Emily said...

These are great. Over the weekend I watched A Farewell to Arms, which is basically a story of a war separating two people in love. There was a scene in which they had to say goodbye before he left, and I found myself trying to imagine what it would be like. We were long distance for two years, but there was not a war in our way, either. I remember how heart wrenching our good-byes were, so I can't even imagine how it was (and is) for so many couples

Emily | Sparkle Meets Pop

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary said...

there is nothing in the world like these moments, but photographs do begin to tell the story! and oh my word is the homecoming day incredible -- watching my 10 month old greet her dad (and recognize him!) after he'd been deployed since she was 4 months old was one of the most incredible moments of my life. you can see what it looked like here: http://tulipsandflightsuits.squarespace.com/tulips-flight-suits/2013/1/7/this-is-exactly-what-that-day-felt-like.html it might be cool for your motherhood monday series (which i love!!) to feature some military moms -- it's quite the adventure!

Leica said...

Thank you to all my fellow military families who have gone, are going, or will go through this heartbreak. These photos are more than just art, Joanna; these are people's REAL LIVES every day. THANK YOU, SERVICE MEMBERS.

Sara said...

These photos are so tragically beautiful. And the last one is used on the cover of the novel The Diplomat's Wife (http://www.amazon.com/Diplomats-Wife-Pam-Jenoff/dp/0778325121), which I just finished and highly recommend. Thanks for sharing!

Amy Plummer said...

Lovely photos. I cannot imagine sending a husband off to war, let alone a child. It saddens me to think how common this is here & around the world.

Amy Plummer said...

Lovely photos. I cannot imagine sending a husband off to war, let alone a child. It saddens me to think how common this is here & around the world.

Julie said...

The photos where the couple isn't kissing are the most haunting, I think. You can see their eyes, and the far-away look they all have. Sad, but a beautiful reminder to be aware of the blessings that are right in front of you every day.

www.jbound.com

Amanda Joy said...

These are so moving. So much love and sadness!

xx
Amanda
www.denimanddaydreamsblog.com

Nina Leung said...

These are so sweet and moving. I cannot imagine what they're going through. Thank you for sharing these!

ryan said...

Did you know that in his most famous photo (the sailor and the nurse) the two didn't know each other. Apparently the sailor just grabbed the nurse and kissed her!

The Joneses said...

Here is an entire 8 x 12 foot collage of WWII couples arranged to replicate "The Kiss" that was hung in Times Square for the month of August. http://blog.fold3.com/world-war-ii-kissing-couples/

sian said...

so sad. sometimes i think about what i'd do if i had to bid farewell to my sweet m or our two sons, selfishly i would want to hide them away and stop them from going. my grandparents didn't see each other during the war years as he was deployed to india, poor grandad missed the first five years of his daughter's life. it must have been wonderful to welcome him home but hard as well after all those years of being independent and autonomous, to go back to the role of a 40s wife.

my gran used to tell me a heartbreaking story about dai, one of my grandad's comrades who came back to marry his sweetheart. the couple spent their wedding night at my grandparents' house as he only had 48 hours 'leave'. my grandma said they were really happy and very in love but, tragically, that was their only night together as man and wife, the woman died of TB before the war ended. the story used to make me feel all teary and romantic as a young teen, now it makes me count my blessings, thank goodness for more peaceful times and modern medicine...

sian said...

yes! to peace and true love!

Alice said...

Oh they are such such beautiful pictures. As my desktop background, I have a picture of a woman leaning across a barrier to kiss her soldier who is still on a train, while others around her laugh- it makes me so happy to think he came back! x

Tanu said...

lovely pictures...

on a different note. did you see yesterday's episode of The Mindy Project. the title immediately reminded me of that :)

Rhett said...

How beautiful and heartbreaking. I just can't imagine...

haylie said...

Not superficial at all! I thought the same thing, and I wondered what it must have been like to dress for this occasion, knowing you might not see your soldier again. I would have worn my best, too.

Erika M said...

Incredible.

Andrea Pizzato said...

bellissime! congrats!

Abbie said...

My grandmother and grandfather could have been one of those couples. Sends such wonders through me imagining their life in NY during this era. My grandmother never wanted to talk about the details of their courtship/marriage and now she is too old to remember. Such a different way to live, but gives me such tremendous respect for her.

Wife of a Soldier said...

Been there, done that, remember every excruciating emotion. Sent my husband and father of our 4 young kids off to afghanistan for a year. Thank God he came back and has been home for nearly 9months now. What you never get from these pictures is how there really isn't any privacy. When I said goodbye to my husband, all of us were standing within eyesight of each other, there were audible cries, tears, kids screaming for their Daddies..... it's heartwrenching moreso than an idealistic romantic moment as pictures make you believe.....

Catherine Masi said...

Tugging at the heart strings today, Joanna!

Catherine Masi said...

Thank you for sharing this perspective. I can't even imagine. It's incredible, beautiful, and heart wrenching that there exists love this powerful to create such emotion.

Jacqueline said...

love.love.love. thank you for inspiring romance jo!

Janan said...

I've shared 3 of these departing kisses with my own Army husband. It never gets any easier. I really like what Wife of a Soldier said about it.

emilyvannah said...

These are incredible!

Emily
eageremily.blogspot.com

jacobithegreat said...

Yeah, I can imagine, because I've been there. Agree with Wife of a Soldier. Regardless, these pictures are lovely.

Vanessa said...

I cannot even imagine kissing my significant other goodbye on his way to war. These photos had me pretty emotional.

wllwproject said...

:(

iwillhavemycake.com said...

True romance. Raw emotion. The women looked so elegant. Fantastic captured moments, however sad.

Caitlin said...

As someone who knows exactly how it feels giving those goodbye kisses, and how it feels to look back and remember that as the last kiss you'll ever get from that person, these are really touching pictures.

Mmmm waffles said...

Good grief women wore a lot of fur then.

keepsakes. etc said...

beautiful and so heartbreaking

Street Fashion Paris said...

Thank god we are living in 21 century!

Pralinka said...

That's so beatiful and so sad as well... Actually, I can't imagine me in a situation like this. I think I couldn't even say anything... I'd just cry and hope... If I imagine the World War, I have to be critical and say to me that "this" was a real problem - the problem wasn't what dress you take the next day to school. But, as Street Fashion Paris has written - Thank that we have "only" this problems nowadays. Yes, everybody has his or her own problems, but it's not like before if you know what I mean...

pralinkablogs.blogspot.com

Sarah said...

I don't have to wonder what this kiss feels like, I've lived it. There are no words for the feelings that I experienced in that moment. However, with the technology around today, military spouses of today are much luckier than the ones of the past.

cdelaluz said...

I still remember my first kiss with my fiance when he returned from Iraq, Smelly camis and all, it was one of the happiest moments in my life. The kiss goodbye was something I will never forget, and am thankful that I wont have to experience again.

Shannon said...

What a coincidence! I just took my class of college freshmen to the Carnegie Museum of Art yesterday and several of these photos are on display. I spent a long time looking at them -- they are stunning and moving in person (and made me very homesick for New York, where I lived until last fall). If you have any other Pittsburgh readers, they should swing by the 2nd floor to see these as well!

Shasta said...

Love these pictures. I've had to say goodbye to my husband in airports almost every year because he deploys so much. It's always sad, nerve wracking, and just plain hard. You try to keep your emotions in check but there's always someone or something that will make you cry. My husband's second deployment I had a woman come up afterwards and hug me. INSTANT bawling once that happened. It's incredibly strange hugging and crying on someone's shoulder when you don't know the person.

sashley said...

I've given that goodbye kiss before. My husband is military; saying goodbye as he leaves for a deployment is one of the hardest things I've ever done. These are some beautiful pictures!

Ellen said...

The best art is that which reflects life most clearly. These are beautiful art because they so perfectly encapsulate the depth of a moment and speak to the soul.

My husband serves as a police officer and while we have not had to say these goodbyes for such long times, I have said goodbye knowing he was going into danger. If there was a photo that captured that depth of feeling for me, I would certainly include it as art in my home.

barefoot duchess said...

heart-breaking... hate wars, hate people being separated so cruelly...

kittenhood said...

pictures like these always break my heart!

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