Mississippi governor signs law for flag without rebel emblem | Nation

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi hoisted a new state flag without the Confederate battle emblem on Monday, just over six months after legislators retired the last state banner in the U.S. that included the divisive rebel symbol.

The new flag has a magnolia and the phrase, “In God We Trust.” Voters approved the design in November, and Gov. Tate Reeves on Monday signed a law to make it an official state symbol.

“A new chapter in our history begins today,” one of the leaders in changing the flag, Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn, told more than 100 people who gathered in near-freezing weather to watch the new flag being raised outside the state Capitol.

Just before signing the law, Reeves said the old flag with the Confederate symbol was “a prominent roadblock to unity.”

“When many looked at our former flag, they just saw a symbol of the state and heritage they love. But many felt dismissed, diminished and even hated because of that flag,” Reeves said. “That is not a firm foundation for our state. So today, we turn the page.”

Momentum to change the Mississippi flag built quickly in June as protests against racial injustice were happening across the nation. Legislators created a commission to design a new flag, specifying that the banner could not include Confederate imagery and that it must include “In God We Trust.”