Voters To Decide If Battle Flag Flies - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/03/02

Voters To Decide If Battle Flag Flies

The Harrison County Supervisors say letting people vote on the flag will settle the issue once and for all. They say they will abide by whatever the people vote to do.

But William Martin opposes a public vote over the flag for a couple of reasons. He says a vote will only divide the county more and he says the people should have more of a choice than just a "yes" or "no" question.

District 3 Supervisor Marlin Ladner says, "The issue is whether that Confederate battle flag should fly on that eight flags display. Vote it yes or no."  

Martin countered, "So you want to make a decision just on the Confederate Battle flag without any other options, without giving the people any other options. You don't want to let them look at any other flag." 

Ladner says the issue isn't about other flags. He says the people should decide only on the battle flag.

Martin says that's wrong. He says the real issue is historical correctness and Martin says the board is ignoring the expert it hired who said the correct flag to fly is the "stars and bars" 

"That is why we hired David Sansing, a former member of the Sons of the Confederacy. And his results to this date, to this date, have not been questioned. There have been no other experts to come forward and say he was incorrect," Martin says.

He says the board is passing the buck to the voters instead of showing leadership and deciding themselves. 

"At some point we have to stand up, as leaders of this community stand up, and say this is wrong, this is morally wrong, this is ethically wrong and it should not be done. It should not be done and we have to make that decision," Martin says.

Martin says a vote is only going to further divide the community. But Ladner says the community should have the final say. 

"The poll that really counts is the voters of Harrison County, every voter. Not a survey but a poll that tells us what the citizens of Harrison County want." 

By Marcia Hill

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