“What’s the harm?” Savannah locals react to the end of the smooching soldiers tradition

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SAVANNAH, GA- A longtime Saint Patrick’s Day tradition is coming to an end.

Fort Stewart Commanders and the parade committee are asking women to refrain from smooching soldiers marching in the parade.

In a post on Twitter, parade committee members said that this request is for safety reasons. A spokesman for the 3rd Infantry Division added, it is also about professionalism. Soldiers are in uniform and are technically on duty, so they are not allowed to break formation.

Although it is tradition for women to adorn their brightly colored lipstick to dash into the crowds and smother the passing soldiers in kisses, News 3 spoke with locals about how the tubes of lipstick are painting mixed reactions.

“I guess if my husband was a soldier, I would want to be the one planting that kiss on his cheek and not having other women do it,” said Lori Wagner, a Savannah resident.

Another local named Jatoya Gions told News 3 she felt completely opposite.

“My husband is military stationed at Fort Stewart, and if he were to participate in it, I would be totally okay with it. I think it’s completely innocent,” Gions said.

One Savannah local said he has marched in the parade for more than 30 years and doesn’t see the harm in allowing women to kiss the soldiers.

“Next thing you know, girls won’t be able to wear lipstick on the side, much less kiss some guy,” said Tony Alfonso.

The army and parade committee said they will not penalize parade-goers for planting an illicit kiss.

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