Couple visiting Charleston recreates famous photo after commissioning ceremony

Navy photographer Lt. Victor Jorgensen captured the famous moment in Times Square, New York on Aug. 14, 1945. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Navy photographer Lt. Victor Jorgensen captured the famous moment in Times Square, New York on Aug. 14, 1945. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A Charleston couple who attended the commissioning ceremony Saturday morning of the USS Ralph Johnson couldn't resist recreating a famous photograph.

Petty Officer First Class Ben Rottinghaus and his wife DeeDee Zimmer, a nurse, posed with the newly-commissioned destroyer in the background.

Their photo recreated a famous 1945 photograph published in Life magazine. That picture captured a U.S. Navy sailor grabbing and kissing a complete stranger dressed in white as a nurse, during a celebration in Times Square, New York. The kiss was photographed on Victory Over Japan Day, more commonly known as V-J Day.

A less-famous version of the moment was captured from a slightly different angle by a Navy photographer, Lt. Victor Jorgensen.

The USS Ralph Johnson was commissioned as thousands of guests and spectators looked on Saturday morning. It was named for a Charleston native who gave his life to save the lives of fellow Marines during the Vietnam war by jumping on a live grenade on March 5, 1968.

The ship was commissioned as the Navy's 64th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer at the Columbus Street Terminal in Charleston.

Rottinghaus and Zimmer were visiting from Alabama to attend the ceremony.

After commissioning in Charleston, the USS Ralph Johnson will make her way to her homeport in Everett, Washington.

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