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Savannah says ‘more’ smooching soldiers in St. Patrick’s Day Parade

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The army says that there is no smooches for soldiers

Savannah is kissing with a decades-long St. Patrick’s Day tradition to say farewell.

SAVANNAH, Georgia. – No more smooches for the soldiers.

The Army is kissing with a decades-long St. Patrick’s Day tradition to see you in Georgia to the port of the city, saying smudged lipstick doesn’t go with the uniform.

For more than 40 years, spectators at one of the largest in the world and St. Patrick’s Day parades have darted into the street to pick up passing soldiers. But this month, Savannah’s parade committee announced that the tradition will not be continued, which, in turn, to the frustration of the old inhabitants.

“Even though rules are there to be broken, I don’t think traditions are,” said Brian Ferguson, who once walked in the parade as a member of the band.

Mims Deriso wore the lipstick brands proud when he carried around, see it as appreciation for the military. “It is a pity that it should go,” he said.

A young girl walks in the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day parade and plant a kiss on a soldier.

(Lizzy Groover)

Brian Counihan also a time to receive those kisses as a cadet in the 1970s, but this year is the parade chairman, he said that it is time to smudge the smooching for the good.

“A few people, you know friends, would run and hug you and kiss you, and then eventually some of the mothers did it, and it’s just blown up,” Counihan told Fox News.

He acknowledged that “it’s fun”, but the snowball effect number of participants running down the street changed the tradition in an “accident waiting to happen.”

“I’m not an old scrooge or anything, but we have a parade to look after, we have an obligation,” Counihan said. He remembered a few years ago, when a band member’s lip was busted from enthusiastic spectators punches in released.

But the first impetus for change actually came from Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield with concerns rooted in something else – permission.

“Taking a fresh look at, how can a soldier feel if they don’t want to be kissed?” asked Big Megan Jantos, a public affairs officer with the 3rd infantry division. “The soldiers have expressed uncomfortable with this tradition, and leaders have expressed their concern at all levels.”

“How can a soldier feel if they don’t want to be kissed?”

– Large Megan Jantos

Fox News approached many 3rd Infantry Division soldiers, who all said that they had “no comment”.

Jantos recognized that it is a tradition that has been around for so long, it doesn’t phase the majority of residents. But when she flips the sexes – man to kiss any woman – she said that more people seem to understand.

“There are people out there who would like to receive appreciation in that form, unfortunately, not everyone does, and so we want to make sure that everyone is respected,” Jantos said.

But, why now?

Fox News asked if Vice-President Mike Pence is the expected rise of influence on the timing; Jantos replied: “Absolutely not.”

Both Jantos and Counihan said the discontinuation of smooches is in discussion for a number of years.

“I think I was more mature than most presidents, and it caught fire,” Counihan said.

A few years ago, the parade committee stopped the protesters from throwing candy and beads to spectators “, because the children have to walk out and dive in front of cars.”

Now, Counihan said they put something else for the same reason – safety.

Soldiers march in Madison Square garden as part of the ceremony for Sgt. William Jasper on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day.

(Fox News)

Jantos pointed to the momentum of the recent national discussion about sexual misconduct in the workplace, saying Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield is “always looking to step up and take a fresh look at [their] traditions.”

Although, the Army, and the parade committee’s call for change is just a request to spectators, so who is to say that if people with a few shamrock shakes in them will comply.

Approximately 200 soldiers will wind through the Historic Downtown of Savannah today to 280 units, including groups, families, associations, public officials, and commercial floats.

The parade traditionally attracts a few hundred thousand people, but with Vice-President Mike Pence is the expected arrival date, Counihan estimated upwards of 600,000 spectators this year.

Savannah’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade traces back to 1824, and officials told Fox News even then celebrated local military.

Emilie Ikeda is a multimedia reporter based in Atlanta.

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