As the state flag comes down, Mississippi turns its eyes toward the future

Updated: Jul. 1, 2020 at 7:32 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLOX) - The flag that has flown over the Magnolia State for over 125 years is officially retired. Now, state leaders and residents are looking towards the future.

Gov. Reeves made history Tuesday by signing the law to retire the flag that has flown over the Capitol since 1894. With just one quick stroke of his pen, a decades old debate was put to rest.

Surrounded by his family and lawmakers Philip Gunn and Delbert Hosemann, who pushed the flag change bill through the legislature, Reeves said he promised to be a governor for all of Mississippi and his actions on Tuesday fulfilled that promise.

“A flag is a symbol of our present, of our people and of our future and for those reasons, we need a new symbol,” said the governor.

While many argued the flag shouldn’t be taken down, Sen. Roger Wicker looking on from Washington, applauding the legislature and Reeves for stepping up to the moment.

“After almost two decades, facts have changed and attitudes have changed, and this was the best way to represent the state,” said Wicker.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith also weighed in, saying: “Today, Governor Reeves signed a law that says the new flag for the State of Mississippi shall bear the words ‘In God We Trust.’ By boldly and publicly acknowledging our faith in God, we will continue to show the world the true heart of Mississippi as a state of proud hardworking, loving, innovative and God-fearing Americans.”

The governor also spoke about why it’s so important to him to have those words on the next flag.

“We are all Mississippians and what better way to do that than to include ‘In God We Trust’ on our new state banner,” said Reeves. “As lieutenant governor, I fought to put those words on our state seal. We were attacked, threatened and ultimately sued. I know those same forces will come after us again, and I know this is a stronger line to hold.”

A commission will now be appointed to design a new flag, which will be presented Sept. 14. Then, when Mississippi voters head to the polls on Nov. 3, they will be able to vote whether or not to approve the new design.

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