Well this! What an outrage against the Saint! Didn't St. Patrick invent kissing the Blarney Stone and other things?
Parade-goers told to stop kissing
Security concerns play a part in nixing St. Patrick’s Day tradition with soldiersBy Katie Nussbaum
Military and Savannah St. Patrick’s Day parade officials are asking parade-goers to put away their lipstick this year and refrain from the tradition of planting kisses on members of the 3rd Infantry Division as they march during the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.
“This is mainly about professionalism for us,” said Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson.
“We understand the parade traditions, but our soldiers are on duty and in uniform and, frankly, red lipstick is not part of our uniform.”
For decades, wives, girlfriends and family members have broken from the crowds lining the streets to plant bright kisses on the faces of military members and Benedictine Military School Cadets as they march the parade route through downtown - leaving them quite literally red in the face by the parade’s end. In recent years the tradition has expanded to include anyone willing to pucker up.
Brian Counihan, chairman of the parade committee, recalled seeing the kissing tradition as far back as the 1970s when he marched as a BC cadet.
“It was sporadic, a few of your girlfriends and your moms would run out,” Counihan said. “In the last six or eight years, it’s come to a point where the military’s almost halted. ... It’s a fun thing, but it’s gotten out of hand.”
Counihan said having random spectators dash up to the moving parade raises safety and security concerns. Organizers also to avoid any appearance of sexual misconduct at a time when the #MeToo movement has heightened awareness.
"People can take it the wrong way," Counihan said."Somebody could run up and grab an individual and it could be considered sexual harassment if it's done improperly."
Larson said while security concerns do play a part in the new request for the military it's rooted in professionalism and the inability of soldiers to break formation.
“We do enjoy participating in the parade. It’s one of the benchmarks of our community relations calendar, but we’re just asking people to show respect for our soldiers,” Larson said.
“We can’t control other people’s behavior, but we hope they police themselves."
The 194th parade, which will be led by 2018 Grand Marshal Micheal Kenny, will kick off from Abercorn and Gwinnett Streets at 10:15 a.m. on March 17. More than 200 floats, bands, families and soldiers will participating as the parade makes its way through downtown Savannah before disbanding at Bull and Harris Streets.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.