Want to get a better idea of what the proposed state flag looks like? Drive by the Union County Heritage Museum.
New Albany resident Betsey Hamilton, who was selected as one of the nine members of the state flag commission, has given one of the new design flags to the museum and it is flying on the pole in front of the building.
Hamilton thinks it is important and illuminating to see the flag as something other than a two-dimensional piece of artwork on paper.
“To those of us serving on the Commission to design the new Mississippi flag, it was truly a defining moment to view each of the five finalists actually flying,” she said. “We saw them from a totally different perspective, waving in the breeze rather than flat on a sheet of paper or projected on a screen.”
“When it’s draped, with ours at least you can see the three colors whereas with the solid fields, solid backgrounds you just see a piece of cloth,” she said.
The design was selected from about 3,700 submissions and the process has received worldwide attention.
Within five days of announcing a selection the story had been the subject of about 7.7 million news stories, postings and other coverage.
While making a final choice became more difficult, winnowing the initial group was not as arduous as it might seem. Of course there were many similarities among the designs, she said.
“More than 60 percent included a magnolia,” she said. “We also recognized much sentiment for the ‘circle of stars’ and also there was good support for ‘In God We Trust.’”
Solid colors were not popular because they tend to lose their identity when flying limply with no wind.
Although the proposed design may look fairly simple, Hamilton said it contains quite a bit of symbolism.
“The new magnolia ‘In God We Trust’ flag is anchored in the center field by a clean and modern magnolia blossom, a symbol long used to represent our state and the hospitality of our citizens,” she said. “The new magnolia also represents Mississippi’s sense of hope and rebirth as the magnolia often blooms more than once with a long blooming season.”
The new magnolia design is considered sleek and updated to represent the forward progression of Mississippi.
Hamilton said the circle of 20 stars represents Mississippi as the twentieth state of the Union and the circle is anchored by the gold five-point diamond star at the top. “This distinctive star represents our first peoples, the indigenous Native American tribes of the land that would be come Mississippi,” she said.
She said the blue in the main field reflects the blue in the American flag representing vigilance, justice and perseverance, while the red bars represent hardiness and valor.
The gold stripes, called fimbriations, and the gold magnolia stamen give a nod to the rich cultural history of Mississippi, specifically the visual arts, literature, music and performing arts to originate in our state.
Hamilton said she would not be surprised if people tend to look twice at some of the colors in the flag here. “These early flags are digitally printed and as a result the red and blue are not true colors,” she said. “When the design becomes the official Mississippi flag, they will be screen printed with true ‘Ole Glory’ red and blue. It will be stunning along with our United States of America flag.”
Hamilton said it is still sometimes difficult to realize she is a part of Mississippi history in serving on the commission. “I’m happy, thrilled, honored,” she said and added the commission has fulfilled its task.
“We believe there is more that unites us than separates Mississippians,” she said. “The new magnolia ‘In God We Trust’ flag is inclusive with symbolism that honors the past while featuring the magnolia flower that continues to bloom over time and for the future.”
“I’m excited about seeing our new flag waving high for the world to see and becoming a proud symbol for our extraordinary state,” she said. “When you vote in November, be sure to go all the way to the last question on the ballot to vote ‘yes’ for the ‘In God We Trust’ flag.”
Although the design is not official, flags can be purchased from a variety of sources. Prices vary according to size and quality.
Hamilton mentioned A Complete Flag Source in Jackson, which she said is a long-time Mississippi-family-owned business, as one source.
Also, there is a website, www.ingodwetrustflag.com, with information about the flag and the upcoming vote as well as some opportunities to order flags.
ballot, Hamilton, In God We Trust, magnolia, New Albany, Northeast Mississippi, state flag, Union County