True Romance…

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…The Heartache of Wartime Farewells, 1943

Farewell to departing troops at New York’s Penn Station, April 1943

The photos here, made by LIFE’s Alfred Eisenstaedt in April 1943 at the height of the Second World War, capture true romance — its agonies, its resilience — in ways that pictures filled with sweetness and light never could. Yes, of course, the emotions on display are clearly heightened by the fact that some of these young men, bidding their sweethearts farewell, might never return from the war. But at least they are genuinely heightened — by the promise of separation and the threat of permanent loss — and in that intensity we glimpse a side of love that’s never written about in greeting cards. A raw side. A desperate side…”