OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - At 7:30 Wednesday morning, Ocean Springs city workers stepped up to the city hall flag pole. They hooked Mississippi's state flag underneath the American flag, and they raised both flags over the city hall grounds. And just like that, five days of debate over whether the state flag should fly in Ocean Springs temporarily came to an end.
Two people near city hall Wednesday as the flag unfurled over Ocean Springs seemed perplexed by city's decision to fly the flag again. "We're going backward," one woman said. Another woman expressed dissatisfaction with her hometown. "I just think it should be a flag that represents the diversity that we have," she said.
Between July and last Friday, the state flag was a fixture on that flag pole. But then, Mayor Shea Dobson ordered city workers to remove the state emblem, replacing it with Mississippi's bicentennial flag. His November 17 Facebook post explaining the decision to remove the flag received both angry and supportive messages.
On Tuesday night, six of Ocean Springs' seven aldermen approved an ordinance amendment to fly the state flag at every city property with a flag pole. Mayor Dobson endorsed the vote. "I still feel like the purpose of flying the flag is solely to respect the state and to show that we are a part of the state and my views on that haven't changed," he said during the sometimes contentious board meeting.
Alderman Ricky Authement was the only alderman to vote against the ordinance that returned the flag to Ocean Springs City Hall's flag pole. "That flag has not flown at city hall for 10 years and all of a sudden now today it has to be up and I don't understand why," he said.