One of America’s closest naval allies — and the source of many U.S. naval customs — underwent a significant script change over the weekend.
The traditional Saturday toast aboard a British Royal Navy vessel, up until last Saturday, had been a simple one: “To our wives and sweethearts.”
The traditional response, either from the youngest officer present or the resident smart aleck, had also been simple: “May they never meet.”
Both are gone. The Associated Press reports the new toast will be to “our families.” Also, the Tuesday toast to “our men” will become “our sailors.” A British military statement said the alterations “reflect cultural changes,” per the report.
It’s unclear what these “cultural changes” are. Women have been serving at sea for the Brits since 1990, and while women are scheduled to begin serving on U.K. submarines later this year, the new toasts reach fleetwide.
So, what’s your take? An overdue nod to an integrated fleet? An unnecessary change to a lighthearted custom? A sign that political correctness is taking hold within a fleet that, as recently as 2007, insisted it had not banned topless photos in private spaces, contrary to published reports? Let us know.