U.S. Flags to Fly at Beach Display

Gulfport attorney Felicia Dunn Burkes told the Harrison County Supervisors they need to support the East Coast relief efforts. She says that means giving up the beachfront flag display. "And I would ask you all rather than expend our taxpayers money on a flag display that's gonna continue controversy in Harrison County that we consider expending those monies and makin' a donation to good heros in America who lost their lives," Burkes says.  John French of the Sons of Confederate Veterans wanted to respond to Burkes, but Supervisors' President Larry Benefield wouldn't allow him to speak because he wasn't on the agenda and Benefield says the board wasn't going to debate the flag issue. French says he didn't want to debate either. "The greatest tragedy is when you take a tragedy that's befallen this country and you use it to further your own agenda and obviously that's what's happening here," French says.

It wasn't until the end of the meeting when Supervisor William Martin asked the board to remember what's happening in New York and Washington. "We need to fly eight American flags in support of the United States at least until this situation is over," Martin says.  The board agreed and voted to fly the Stars and Stripes indefinitely. Supervisors' President Larry Benefield says, "We feel the need to stick together and be one people and one community, and one country and the other flags at this point are not the issue in our hearts and in our minds. It's our own people, our citizens that have been hurt and many have not been found to this day."

Burkes says the board's vote is a positive step and she hopes the supervisors will consider donating to the relief efforts.