The Kiss Project

The Kiss Project

'Kissing the War Goodbye' Photo by Victor Jorgensen, US Navy Photo Journalist | Public Domain

Stories by Liesel Schmidt

Recreation Photography by Magdalena Papaiouannou

This August will mark 75 years since VJ Day – the day that marked the end of World war Two. Today we can barely imagine the joy, relief, and thankfulness Americans felt with the war finally over. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and for most of America at the time and ever since, the feelings engendered by the War’s end were aptly portrayed by the iconic black-and-white photo of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square. It’s incredibly expressive, conveying the absolute, overwhelming feeling of joy and relief that the entire nation felt at that very moment. While we are no longer in the midst of a world war, our military men and women are still serving in harm’s way, preserving our freedom and defending our way of life.

'In the great scheme of things, 75 years is nothing; merely a pinprick on the timeline of the history of the world. But to Americans, the past 75 years have meant everything.' - Kellie Gunderman

As we approach the 75th anniversary of that historic day, we at VIP Alexandria Magazine could think of no better way to celebrate and honor both those who served during World War Two as well those serving today than by recreating that famous photo with real service personnel and real military spouses.

The stories you will find in the pages ahead are not of your typical military spouses. These are the inspiring stories of three local women who have chosen to serve our nation on two fronts; that of a selfless support system for their partners in uniform and also as warriors themselves fighting, as nurses, an unprecedented and invisible enemy: COVID-19.

A special thank you to these women and all who are currently serving.

We salute you all.

- Kellie Gunderman, Publisher


'The Kiss Project' was created by VIP Alexandria Magazine in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the End of WWII. The iconic 'Kissing the War Goodbye' photo by Victor Jorgensen, US Navy Photo Journalist | Public Domain, was taken in Times Square on August 15, 1945. The recreations of this image were taken in Old Town, Alexandria, VA in May 2020 using real women who are currently serving on two fronts; as Military Spouses and as Nurses fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.


Becky Dines, RN, BSN

Jen Hensarling, Family Nurse Practitioner

Gretchen Steketee, RN, BSN

Read their stories → Begin here

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