There are few photos as quintessentially American as “V-Day in Times Square,” in which a returning US Navy sailor smooches a nurse — a heartwarming piece of non-consensual nostalgia. When Bryan Woodington returned from a seven-month deployment in the Middle East with 300 other sailors, he and husband Kenneth recreated the iconic moment in full looks, with Bryan dipping his husband to give him a big, fat consensual smooch. The touching reunion aired on news network WJXT in Jacksonville, Florida.
"I was excited and I could not wait for it to happen," Bryan told WJXT. "I knew I was going to dip him." Kenneth said that when his man disembarked the ship, he “lost all control...just dropped everything and...ran.” The crowd at the base went wild...and so did the viewers. Florida being Florida, this touching moment could not go ignored by citizens of the state that produced the zombie face-eating bathsalts guy.
WJXT reported that their airing of the ceremonial first kiss was met with an outpouring of homophobic backlash. “How sad that your station has dropped to such a low as to show a gay couple kissing on your newscast," said one angry caller, while another emailed saying they’d “never watch your news again!!!! So long, News4Jax." Another “thought this was a ‘family friendly’ news channel.” Because gay people, apparently, are not a part of families.
But the reunited couple is unfazed by the trolls. "It didn’t really bother me," Kenneth told WJXT. "Honestly, I’m the type of person who doesn’t really care that much about what people say."
"My grandmother always said, 'You know some people have a different life and this is how they are and you just have to treat them as such, and treat them with kindness and respect,'" said Bryan.