SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - They were booted from this years parade, but New York City firefighters still made their presence felt in Savannah for St. Patrick's Day.
Today, firefighters from all over the country, including New York City, made the trek to Savannah for our biggest celebration of the year.
While most say there are no hard feelings, actions can speak louder than words.
New York City wasn't totally missing from the 2008 Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade. The Emerald Society Pipes and Drums held the NYC flag high. However, their firefighters were only spectators this year.
"It was an unfortunate decision, but we respect the committee's decision," Lt. Jim Grismer Jr., FDNY Ladder 39 in the Bronx told WTOC.
Grismer Jr., along with his fellow firefighters, has been walking in the parade the last 5 years. This year they were told rowdy behavior in the past resulted in no invite for 2008. But, they are still here.
"We thought it was important to come down and share St. Patrick's Day and have a good time and enjoy ourselves," Grismer Jr. said.
"I think we have hundreds here and they are going to have a good time without any problems," Jim Grismer Sr. told WTOC.
Grismer Sr. heads up the firefighter welcoming committee in Savannah.
In Johnson Square, the annual post-parade food and drink tent for visiting firefighters was alive and well. Even with reveling, Grismer says the committee's snub still stings.
"I am disappointed deeply, but I'll get over it," Grismer Sr. said.
While firefighters still came to Savannah to watch the parade, they did it from the sidelines. While they said there were no hard feelings, at least one person expressed his disappointment.
As the parade committee passed by Johnson Square, one FDNY supporter turned his back, displaying the green t-shirt with big, yellow letters on the back reading, "Free the FDNY."
Grismer Sr. says the sour feelings will pass and the firefighters will still come.
"They just love Savannah and nothing will stop them from coming," he said.
"This is a special place," Grismer Jr. said.
While son sees hope for the future.
"Hopefully we will be back next year in March," he said.
Dad sees certainty.
"We'll be back next year and we are sure we will be in the line of march," Grismer Sr. said.
In the parade or out, they'll be back. "Yeah, we will be back next year and enjoy ourselves," Grismer Jr. said.
Besides NYC, fire departments from all over the east coast, California, Canada and Ireland attended this year's parade.