The world recently bid a solemn farewell to the man believed to be responsible for arguably the most romantic photo ever taken. Glenn McDuffie, who claimed to be the sailor in the Times Square kissing photo taken during a celebration after the World War II victory, was 86 when he died. Through an act of sheer joy when he was much younger (and thanks to a camera man positioned at exactly the right place and time), McDuffie left behind an iconic image that will forever move us to experience all the feelings.
What other popular photos have a way of sparking romantic inspiration within us? The pictures below are incredible not only for the images themselves, but additionally for what they represent, the compassion they evoke and the lessons they teach us about unconditional love.
Plus, a little cheese never hurt anybody...
1. Act in the moment and embrace the unexpected. Spontaneity can go a very, very long way.
You know this one, an oldie but goodie: Glenn McDuffie and Gloria Bullard, the two people believed to be pictured in the iconic image, kiss in Times Square on V-J Day, 1945. Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Time & Life Pictures via Getty Images.
2. Sometimes a smile is the only "I love you" that's needed.
Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz get ready for their closeup, 1955. Photo by Archive Photos/Stringer for Getty Images.
3. Love doesn't always last forever. The point, sometimes, is just that it happened at all.
Elizabeth Taylor and then husband Richard Burton share one of their many epically romantic moments together, 1968. Photo by Bentley Archive/Popperfoto for Getty Images.
4. In moments of turmoil, love can heal and calm most things. Take refuge in it when needed.
A couple reactively embraces a moment of passion during a riot police walk in the streets of Vancouver, 2011. Photo by Rich Lam for Getty Images.
5. Don't run at the first sign of trouble. Fight for what you know is meant to be.
Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash perform on stage together and evoke some of that breathless charm, 1975. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives for Getty Images.
6. With the right person by your side, possibilities are limitless. Choose a partner, not a trophy.
The Obamas share a smooch in Washington D.C., 2010. Photo by Jewel Samad for AFP/Getty Images.
7. If there's no room for silliness and being yourself-ness, something isn't right.
Actor Paul Newman and wife Joanne Woodward act all types of silly, 1963. Photo by Fotos International for Getty Images.
8. Don't settle for anything less than what you know you deserve.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta is the first off the ship to kiss her girlfriend upon returning home to Virginia Beach, 2011. Photo by Associated Press.
9. Seize opportunities to create together and share your talents. Note: Magic could happen.
Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks perform live onstage in Los Angeles, 1983. Photo by Richard E. Aaron for Redferns.
10. Be proud of your love. Be confident and secure, and show it to the world.
Marine Sgt. Brandon Morgan returns home and leaps for joy upon seeing his partner in Hawaii, 2012. Photo via Gay Marines Facebook page.
11. Be with someone who brings out the best in you and shines equally by your side.
A recently betrothed Princess Elizabeth and Phillip at Buckingham Palace, 1947. Photo by Tropical Press Agency for Getty Images.
12. Give proper goodbyes. You can't predict today; leave with more than a flick of the wrist.
Actress Marlene Dietrich kisses a serviceman upon entering the Hollywood Canteen in Los Angeles, 1943. Photo by Associated Press.
13. Break every rule, write your own scripts and push through until your dreams are realized.
A couple holds hands during their wedding ceremony the day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on DOMA in New York City, 2013. Photo by Mario Tama for Getty Images.
14. Love shows its true colors in moments that test your strength and commitment.
Jean Moore kneels and kisses her fiancé, World War II veteran Ralph Neppel, at the White House, 1945. Photo by George Skadding for Time & Life Pictures via Getty Images.
15. The most unwarranted of circumstances can still see happy endings. Hold onto hope.
A married couple, Michael A. Knaapen and John Becker, in Washington D.C. embraces after a Supreme Court ruling issues that parts of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) are unconstitutional, 2013. Photo by Mark Wilson for Getty Images.
16. Kiss often -- a little PDA is not necessarily a bad thing.
Actress Martha O'Driscoll kisses a soldier goodbye in Los Angeles, 1941. Photo by Keystone-France for Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images.
17. And don't ever let anyone tell you whom you can or cannot love.
Pearl Bailey and Louie Bellson, one of Hollywood's first spotlighted interracial couples, at the Cue Awards in Los Angeles, 1969. Photo by Ron Galella for Wire Image.
18. Because if you nurture love delicately, through all its faults and rarity, it can last a lifetime.
Gloria Bullard, the woman believed to be in Eisenstaedt's original Times Square photo, and World War II fighter pilot Jerry Yellin reenact the image on the anniversary of V-J Day in New York City, 2013. Photo by Emmanuel Dunand for Getty Images.