The Army wants to halt a favorite St. Patrick's Day shenanigan in Savannah that for decades has left marching soldiers with cheeks smeared in bright red lipstick. Roughly 200 soldiers from nearby Fort Stewart plan to take part in the March 17 parade, which organizers say could draw 500,000 or more revelers to Georgia's oldest city. Savannah's Irish immigrants and their descendants have marched on St. Patrick's Day since 1824. The sprawling celebration is now one of the South's largest street parties after Mardi Gras, and as the parade winds around Savannah's oak-shaded squares, women in the crowd traditionally slather on red lipstick and then dart into the street to plant messy kisses on the soldiers' faces, reports the AP.
But Fort Stewart commanders and organizers of the Savannah parade want the soldier smooching to stop. Parade adjutants posted along the route are being asked to help turn back any would-be kissing bandits. Brian Counihan, chairman of the Savannah parade's organizing committee, says having random spectators dash up to the moving parade raises safety and security concerns. Organizers also want to avoid any appearance of sexual misconduct at a time when the #MeToo movement has heightened awareness. The Army and the parade committee aren't seeking penalties for any parade watchers who slip through and land an illicit kiss. "We can't control other people's behavior," Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said Thursday. "We're simply asking them to police themselves and do right by our soldiers."
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