jack reed, jr

The Mississippi Legislature has done its job. The Commission to Redesign the Mississippi Flag has done its job. Now it is up to the Mississippi voters to do our job, and on November 3 Vote yes and approve a new state flag for Mississippi.

Simply put, it can be truly a historic day for our state.

Replacing the flag is long overdue. Our state flag should be a source of pride and represent the best of Mississippi rather than connotations of the past. The In God We Trust flag that is on the ballot will enhance our state’s image, boost economic development, and make tremendous strides in bringing our citizens together.

The state Legislature earlier this year passed a law retiring the previous state flag and set forth a process for Mississippians to select their next flag. The Legislature stepped up, showed leadership and displayed courage.

The appointed nine-member Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag – which included Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill and New Albany businesswoman Betsey Hamilton – worked diligently, reviewing more than 3,000 submitted design concepts, accepting more than 70,000 public comments and collaborating to reach a design decision.

Centered on a field of blue, the design features our state flower, from the evergreen Magnolia, to represent Mississippi’s sense of hope and rebirth. The sleek and clean magnolia blossom represents the forward progression of Mississippi and our great hospitality.

The flag’s main field of blue echoes the blue of the American flag representing vigilance and perseverance, with bands of red embodying hardiness and valor. The gold lines and the gold stamen of the New Magnolia are a nod to the rich cultural history of Mississippi, specifically the visual arts, literature, music, and performing arts in our state. The magnolia is encircled by 20 five-point stars, signifying Mississippi being the 20th state to join the union. Anchored atop the circle a gold, five-point star stands alone, representing our first peoples, the indigenous Native American tribes of the land that would become Mississippi.

The design’s strong foundation features “In God We Trust” to signify faith, grace and values. Who can vote against that?

Now, Mississippians – to borrow an athletic phrase – we must get the ball across the goal line.

We need to make sure we finish the job.

We need to Vote Yes and accept the design.

We need the In God We Trust flag to fly above the State Capitol, schools, buildings and in courtrooms throughout our state.

We need to say to the world that this is a new day in Mississippi.

The measure will be at the very bottom of the ballot, and there will be an example of the In God We Trust flag design. If you need additional information about the flag, visit www.ingodwetrustflag.com

A majority of yes votes will result in the design being the new state flag. A majority of n o votes starts the design process over. The 1894 flag has been retired to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

A fear is that some voters believe the new state flag is a done deal. Most assuredly it is not. Voters need to take the time and make sure we Vote yes on this important issue.

We get to decide. Let your voice be heard. Vote yes.

JACK REED, JR. is a businessman and the former mayor of Tupelo.

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