Since Wednesday, more than 6,000 service men and women have flooded the streets of New York City.
But only one got to kiss Katy Perry.
Tom Smith, 20, stood in uniform in Pier 9, amongst a swarm of fellow members of the armed services.
On stage strutted Perry, decked in a sparkly American flag dress for Pepsi’s Fleet Week concert. This concert, one of many events for New York Fleet Week, is part of an overall weeklong celebration of the Navy, Marine and Coast Guard and their contributions to the United States.
Before the show on Wednesday night, Perry Tweeted, “Sea men dock their vessels in the great city of NYC to experience the land from whence they came. I’m going to give them a show! #fleetweek”
Smith, a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, had been on board one of those vessels, the U.S.S Wasp. The vessel had departed two days earlier from Norfolk, Virginia, before it landed amongst others in New York City. Originally residing from Waterford, Michigan, Smith was spending his first time in The Big Apple standing next to his self-proclaimed “celebrity crush.”
He recalls it all began when Perry at the concert started inquiring how long their deployments were and stating how much the men must miss women when they’re gone. Smith, who’d spent most of his life with the aspiration to become a Marine, had been deployed in Afghanistan.
Following up on her statement, she asked the members of the armed services, “I’m looking for the loneliest guy out there.”
Smith said he started loudly cheering and yelling, “It’s me, it’s me.” A buddy promptly picked him up and it led to him crowd surfing. That got Perry’s attention.
After Smith was put down, Perry asked, “Where’s that roaming Marine?”
Suddenly, Smith found himself on stage in front of the concertgoers, with Perry saying that she wanted to recreate the iconic photograph of the V-J Day kiss in Times Square. The photo, published in 1945, showed a spontaneous kiss between an American solider and a woman in a white dress after the announcement of the end of the war with Japan.
“She said, ‘remember on the lips,” and when she said that, I dipped down and kissed her,” said Smith.
The kiss, which he describes as a “dream come true” became news.
The video feed has been played on Extra and Access Hollywood and pictures have been published in Business Insider and US Weekly.
People have flooded his Facebook with photos, videos, screenshots and congratulations. His mother, after finding out about the kiss, called him in awe.
Before the kiss, people would stop him and other armed force members in the middle of the street to say, ‘thank you for your service.’
Now, every so often, whether it’s someone who was also at the concert or someone who recognizes him, they ask if he’s the Marine who kissed Katy Perry.
He can look at them and say, “Yeah, yeah that was me.”
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