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VA reverses plan to ban iconic WWII kiss photo from medical sites

  
Via:  Vic Eldred  •  4 months ago  •  11 comments

By:   Leo Shane III (Military Times)

VA reverses plan to ban iconic WWII kiss photo from medical sites
"The photograph, which depicts a non-consensual act, is inconsistent with the VA's no-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment and assault," the memo stated.

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Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough is overruling plans to ban the famous Times Square kiss photo marking the end of World War II from all department health care facilities, a move criticized as political correctness run amok.

The ban was announced internally at VA medical facilities late last month in a memo from Rima Ann Nelson, the Veterans Health Administration's top operations official. Employees were instructed to "promptly" remove any depictions of the famous photo and replace it with imagery deemed more appropriate.

"The photograph, which depicts a non-consensual act, is inconsistent with the VA's no-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment and assault," the memo stated.

"To foster a more trauma-informed environment that promotes the psychological safety of our employees and the veterans we serve, photographs depicting the 'V-J Day in Times Square' should be removed from all Veterans Health Administration facilities."

The memo garnered public scrutiny after it was posted online by the X account EndWokeness on Tuesday.

Just hours later, McDonough took to social media to reverse the memo.

"This image is not banned from VA facilities — and we will keep it in VA facilities," said a post from his official X account. Department officials echoed in a separate statement that "VA will NOT be banning this photo from VA facilities."

Officials said the memo should not have been sent out and was formally rescinded on Tuesday. They did not provide details of whether senior leaders were consulted on the matter ahead of Nelson's memo.

The photograph was taken by journalist Alfred Eisenstaedt in New York City on Aug. 14, 1945, as Americans celebrated Japan's surrender at the end of World War II. Other journalists, including military reporters, also captured the moment.

The shot shows a U.S. sailor grabbing and kissing a woman he did not know amid a joyous, party atmosphere in Times Square. The identities of the individuals in the photo have been disputed over the years.

In her memo, Nelson noted that use of the photo in VA facilities "was initially intended to celebrate and commemorate the end of World War II and the triumphant return of American soldiers. However, perspectives on historical events and their representations evolve."

Nelson wrote that the non-consensual nature of the kiss and "debates on consent and the appropriateness of celebrating such images" led to the decision. Senior leaders did not provide an explanation for the reversal.

VA officials could not provide details on how many facilities are currently displaying the photo and whether veterans have complained about use of the image.

McDonough has made veterans outreach and inclusion key priorities for the department over the last three years, including rewriting the VA motto with gender-neutral language.


About Leo Shane III

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.


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Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    4 months ago


First: We all owe a debt of gratitude to the individual/group EndWokeness and the recently revamped and free site known as X.


More importantly, if and when Donald Trump regains the White House, every deep state activist such as Rima Ann Nelson needs to be fired on day 1.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    4 months ago

Rima Ann Nelson needs to be fired on

she’s in a cult. The separation of church and state ought to apply to nonsense like this memo. 


 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    4 months ago

Seems to me that Nelson is an overly opinionated mysandrist - what gives her the expertise to interpret what a photo means?  How does she know the kiss is NON-consensual?  Maybe right after the photo was taken the woman (a nurse?) threw her arms around the sailor.  That photo is an unforgettable iconic symbol of the joyful celebration of the ending of the war and McDonough is absolutely right to have overruled her.

I think I'm finally starting to understand what "wokism" is and knowing that it doesn't mean cooking in a round-bottomed frying pan and since I will use the usual pronouns and not give a damn what anybody says about it I think I'm with you on it. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.2.1  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.2    4 months ago

That was part of my purpose in posting it.

As William F Buckley once said: Sometimes who reads it is as important as how many read it.

(I'm paraphrasing)

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Principal
2  Jeremy Retired in NC    4 months ago

This is the stupidity of trying to apply todays standards to the past.  

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3  JohnRussell    4 months ago

I think the ban of the photo of the kiss was silly and I think the attempted brouhaha from the right about this is silly. If conservatives are so worried about bad political behavior,  they should look in at their own party.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Principal
4  Jeremy Retired in NC    4 months ago
McDonough has made veterans outreach and inclusion key priorities for the department over the last three years, including rewriting the VA motto with gender-neutral language.

All the problems with the VA this should be bottom of the list of importance.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @4    4 months ago

We have had many with the VA. The agencies priorities are out of whack to say the least.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
5  Sparty On    4 months ago

Wokism …… busted!

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Silent
6  charger 383    4 months ago

That somebody in authority would consider something this stupid shows how bad the problems have become.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
6.1  Sparty On  replied to  charger 383 @6    4 months ago

The Biden Administration continues to prove just how bad their progressive shit-show has become.   It’s outrageous, egregious, unconscionable really …..

 
 

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