Decision to remove MS flag from OS City Hall draws strong response

Decision to remove MS flag from OS City Hall draws strong response

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - You won't find the Mississippi state flag flying in front of Ocean Springs City Hall anymore.

Mayor Shea Dobson decided to take it down after making the decision to fly it at the beginning of his term last summer.

"I'm very proud to be from Mississippi and to me, it's an opportunity to celebrate who we are," said Mayor Dobson.

According to Mayor Dobson, the feedback and negative attention from flying the state flag, which includes the Confederate battle emblem, was turning into a distraction in regard to  city business.

"It was starting to affect people in a very negative way. It wasn't a decision I took lightly. I didn't want to do it necessarily, but I felt like it was in the best interest of the city. I wanted people to hear about it straight from me," said Dobson.

Dobson announced the decision to take the flag down on Facebook. He says he deleted the post overnight after comments got out of hand.

But that hasn't stopped the opinions.

"Anybody in the state of Mississippi and receives any money from the state should be required to fly the flag," said resident George Glazier.

Doug Denehai wasn't sure that taking the flag down was the right decision. "I understand both sides of it, I also don't like to see history erased. We're all supposed to learn from history and not make that mistake again," he said.

There are also those who support the Mayor's decision, like Cuttino Alexander, pastor of Christus Victor Lutheran Church.

"It took courage on the part of the aldermen as well. I hope they continue to stand by that decision," he said.

Like Pastor Alexander, former alderman Briley Richmond remembers being disappointed with the Mayor's decision to fly the flag in the first place. Seeing it come down was a relief for him.

"I was surprised, but pleased. It reflects a very sad time in my state's history, and if we want our history in our flag I think we should celebrate a happier moment," said Richmond.

The state flag is still standing in the city's board room. It is also still flying over other city buildings, like the police and fire departments.

Mayor Dobson said he's leaving the decision of whether or not to keep it flying there to the chiefs of the respective departments.

The U.S. flag and the state bicenntenial celebration banner remain flying over Ocean Springs City Hall.

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