This is a joke, right? St. Patrick's Day in Savannah is the best in the world. Second biggest parade in the world; only New York City's is bigger but it's not better. Don't believe me just ask the cops that come here from New York, New Jersey, Chicago and FDNY guys. They love it here and would much prefer to be in our parade instead of theirs. We have bands and other groups from Ireland who come in for the big event. Ours is unique and part of that uniqueness is the ladies from about 14 up love to run out and kiss the Benedictine cadets and soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division. But while most folks are wearing shirts, buttons and hats touting the age-old slogan: "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" this year some entrepreneur could make a fortune selling a new button, "Don't Kiss Me, I'm 3rd I-D."
When I first heard the news I thought it was a joke. The story simply mentioned it was "Army commanders" who decided it was too dangerous in today's atmosphere and it was for security reasons. I'm not thinking national security is at stake here. These ladies are armed only with heavy-duty lipstick, not AK-47's or baynottes. They are having a great time and from everything we've seen so are the soldiers. I'm sure there are a few who are uncomfortable with it but overwhelmingly every indication is that most of them prefer it to another tour in Afghanistan.
If this was a tradition that began in the last couple of years that would be one thing but this goes back decades. As far as we know, not a single soldier of the thousands of soldiers who've marched have been harmed in any way. No medics have had to be called and I'm thinking we won't need 'em this year. The question is, how do we stop them? The kissing bandits have been asked politely not to kiss the 3rd I-D soldiers but who's going to stop them? Will MPs be marching alongside to thwart these Revlon Revelers? The Savannah Police?
My worry is this could get ugly. Some of these ladies are going to want to be the first to defy the ban and some others may not have even heard about it. We know that most young people don't pay much attention to the news anymore so they may run out totally clueless they are violating the new rule. And what will happen to her/them? We love our soldiers and God forbid one of these ladies get roughed up by whoever is guarding against this senseless (in my opinion) order. Since there will be more cameras than parade watchers on hand, that picture and/or video will go viral in less time that you can shout "Erin Go Bragh!" What do you think the lamestream media is going to focus on? It won't be what a great parade and party we have--it's going to be that incident.
Perhaps my fears are unfounded. Chances are nothing is going to go wrong and the few who break the new rules won't be punished in any way. But there's an old saying, "Don't fix what ain't broken." This wasn't broken and whoever decided that their soldiers were having too much fun at our parade will come to their collective senses. At least the girls can go ahead and kiss the Navy and Coast Guard Sailors, Marines, and Airmen and the BC Cadets. I'm going to be out of town so I won't be available this year..but next year???