Varner: Flag is going to make a lasting change forever

Published 7:01 pm Friday, October 30, 2020

There is a responsibility that comes with helping make change.

Many will be supportive of the new ideas, while others will be critics.

In June, Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill retiring Mississippi’s state flag, and making way for a new one that is representative of all of the state’s people.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Shortly following this historic moment, Vicksburg resident Mack Varner was appointed to the Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag that would also make history. The commission, made up of nine members, was tasked with choosing a single proposal for a new flag that Mississippians would ultimately decide on in the general election on Nov. 3.

These men and women spent hours learning about flags from a vexillologist and looked over and studied hundreds of designs until deciding on one; the “In God We Trust” flag.

“This was a heck of a responsibility and a very grave responsibility that we got it right,” Varner said. “This flag is going to make a lasting change forever for generations from now. This is one historical event.”

Varner called the chance to serve on the commission an honor and privilege.

Looking back, Varner said, some of the high points in serving on the commission included working with the other eight members. The members included a former state Supreme Court justice, artists, marketing representatives, a mayor and a college president, among others.

“These were some really outstanding individuals. I got to know them well and we all worked together and it was a very satisfying process,” Varner said.

Varner, who was appointed to the commission by fellow Vicksburg native Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, said another memorable experience he will take away from his time serving was the feedback from the public.

“One of the most incredible things I thought was we had 3,000 (flag) submissions — 3,000,” he said. “This shows you how much people were invested in this. That was just unbelievable.”

Varner also was surprised at the number of people who reached out to him directly either by calling, texting or emailing, to talk about the flag. Many of them, he said, had been college classmates.

“I got so many calls and emails from my friends at Millsaps,” Varner said. “One of my friends, Joe Frank Sanderson, who I haven’t heard from in 50 years even called me.”

Varner said he is very optimistic the “In God We Trust” flag will be approved Tuesday. Recent polls have shown 63 percent of Mississippians favor the new flag.

If the flag is selected, Varner said he was going to “pop open a bottle of champagne and toast all my good friends who supported me on this.”

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

email author More by Terri Cowart