VJ Day icon passes

And they didn’t come back til it was over over there.

The most iconic photo capturing the ebullience of a nation when Japan threw in its World War II kamakazi bandanas is this one of a Navy enlisted man kissing a young nurse in New York Times Square.

The same kiss would probably constitute attempted rape these days, but in 1945 it made for one heck of a Life Magazine cover.

The nurse kissee, Greta Zimmer Friedman, passed away in 2016. Kisser George Mendonsa died this week in Rhode Island at 95.


Feel the Bern

Vermont Senator and self-professed political revolutionary Bernie Sanders is taking another run at the presidency. He’ll again make the effort as a Democrat, and apparently has gotten over DNC shenanigans favoring Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Mindful that he will be 80 years old on inauguration day, Sanders acknowledged that age could be an issue. Also mindful of complaints from female staffers of abusive behavior in the Sanders camp in ’16, Bernie reportedly is developing a list of “young chicks who can take a joke” for potential running mates.

Among contenders are Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Dianne Feinstein, both 85; Gloria Steinem, 84; Maxine Waters, 80; and Nancy Pelosi, 78.

Candidates from the celebrity left fringe include Jane Fonda, 80; Barbra Streisand, 76; and Billie Jean King, 75. Sanders has asked Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to an upcoming Capitol Hill Mixer, and admitted she was his first choice as a VP candidate.

“She’s old enough to drive, drink and vote,” he said, “but that silly damn piece of paper we call a Constitution is clearly discriminating against her youth. Heck, I forget more about government every day than she learns.

“I’d be crazy not to take advantage of our Democrat youth movement,” Sanders told an AARP member he mistook for an AP reporter. He then abruptly ended the interview.

“Sorry, but Meals on Wheels is here, and it’s Taco Tuesday,” he explained. “With a little ketchup, they’re pretty tasty…and I need those Spanish lingo voters. Comprendo, fraulein?”


Celebrating Annies

A pair of Anne’s, one famous, one not, both beloved, celebrate birthdays this week in the rare air of their nonagenarian years. Annie Glenn, widow of famed Astronaut/Senator John Glenn, turned 99 on Sunday. Anne Davin Zeller, my maternal aunt and our family’s last surviving member of the Greatest Generation,  will be 97 on Friday. They have more than a name in common.

Long before his Mercury 7 NASA fame and distinguished Senate career, John Glenn flew combat missions against Japan in World War II. Aunt Anne’s husband to be, Herman Zeller, served in the Army Corps of Engineers and helped build and maintain airfields for Allied forces fighting their way across the Pacific and to VJ day, 1945.

The odds are long that Glenn, a hotshot Marine aviator, and Zeller, a mild-mannered, behind-the-scenes soldier, ever crossed paths. But both were heroes in their own right. They left the comforts of home and loving families behind to serve in one of the bloodiest theaters of war in recorded history. To the good fortune of our country and my family, both came home.

Herman Zeller, South Pacific, circa 1944

During the war, Aunt Anne and my late mother were among millions of women providing essential support to the war effort. For Annie, that meant employment at Indiana’s Jeffboat Shipyard, which produced scores of LSTs for the war effort. 

Annie and Senator John Glenn

Newlywed Annie Glenn would have been hard-pressed to believe what would follow the war. The Glenns enjoyed 73 years of marriage, mostly on the world stage. Uncle Herman passed away relatively young, and the Zellers barely eclipsed 25 years of marriage…but they packed a lifetime of love into a story-book romance.

Herman and Anne Zeller

Happy Birthday, ladies, and thank you from your grateful nation and lucky families.

If you’re so inclined, drop a birthday card to a lady who, trust me, you would love to know.

Mrs. Anne Zeller

Episcopal Church Home

7504 Westport Road

Louisville, KY  40222

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