Meridian firefighters raised a new state flag with a magnolia blossom above City Hall on Monday.
“It was a special moment,” said Briton Brassfield, one of the firefighters who raised the new flag.
The ceremony included a prayer by Pastor LoVell Mosley in the City Hall auditorium and the raising of the flag on the building’s roof.
The Mississippi Legislature voted last week to approve a bill that ratifies the new state flag, and Gov. Tate Reeves signed the bill into law Monday afternoon.
The state had been without an official flag since late June 2020, when the legislature voted to retire the 1894 flag, which contains the Confederate battle emblem.
An appointed commission decided on the new design for the state flag, according to Mississippi Today. Mississippi voters approved the flag design in the November election, but the legislature still had to pass a law to make the state officially adopt the flag.
Peter Malone, another firefighter who helped hoist the flag in Meridian, described Monday as a “pretty joyous” day. Malone likes that the people of the state got to vote on the flag.
“People got an actual chance to vote on it, and now we actually see that our voices and our votes do count,” he said. “They do matter.”
Mayor Percy Bland called the flag “a new symbol for hope.”
“We’re glad today that we can move forward with a flag that’s symbolic of something that we all can stand behind and be proud of,” Bland said, “and bring a new hope, a new energy to our city, to our state and to communities all across the state of Mississippi.”
Both the American flag and Mississippi flag at City Hall are being flown at half mast in memory of the two U.S. Capitol Police Officers who have died since the attack on the Capitol last Wednesday, Bland said.
On Monday afternoon, Reeves signed the bill that making the flag Mississippi’s official flag.
“It is done with the hope that we can work together and serve one another,” Reeves said in a Facebook post. “We need to come together in this country. We need to remember that we are one nation. Under God. Indivisible.”