Here in the last couple of days, we have seen history being made in regards to the state flag controversy.
Over the weekend the Mississippi House and Senate, both majority Republicans, voted to remove the current state flag of Mississippi that still had the Confederate battle emblem in the top left corner.
Today, a ceremony was held to remove the flag and transfer it to the Two Mississippi Museums where it will be on display as a historic archive.
“This is a historic occasion, in which we should reflect and we should look forward,” Speaker of the House Philip Gunn stated. “We can not look forward to where we are going unless we remember where we have been. Today we come to terms with our past and look to our future.”
A ceremony was held beginning at the Capitol where the old flags were raised on the grounds, one on the main flag pole on the south steps, and the other two above the House and Senate chambers. They were then and lowered, folded and handed off to Speaker Philip Gunn, Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann, and Katie Blount, director of the Department of Archives and History.
The ceremony then moved to the Two Mississippi Museums where the flags are now officially “archived.”
“Today marks a turning point in our state’s history. Today we retire our former flag and we are in the process of adopting a new flag,” Speaker Gunn said. “Every Mississippian alive today has lived under this flag and it means different things to different people, but regardless of how you view this flag, you are a Mississippian.”
This flag has much history to it, some good, some bad. It has flown as the Mississippi state flag for the last 125 years, but as of today, it has been taken down for good.
“Today we retire our flag, but we do not retire our future. For that matter, we do not retire our past either,” Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann said after bringing the flags to the Two Mississippi Museums.
“That is our history, we do not even retire the ability for any person to fly this flag. But we will shortly fly a new flag and it will be the flag of our future for all of our citizens,” Lt. Governor Hosemann said. “The decision to allow the citizens to select their new flag and contain the words, ‘In God We Trust,’ never seems more appropriate.”
Reuban Anderson, President of the Department of Archives and History, described accepting these flags as the “thrill of his life.”
“This flag will go… where it is appropriate, where it will be studied and argued about because it is an artifact,” Anderson said. “That is where it should be in the history museum, right next to the only state civil rights museum in America.”
Now, the next step is for a commission to be appointed to design the new flag for the state of Mississippi. It will consist of 9 members. 3 members will each be chosen by the Speaker, Lt. Governor, and Governor. These members have not yet been announced.
Mississippians will get to vote on the design in the November election.