As I travel across the world, I’m often asked where I’m from and, because we have both good and bad cultural baggage, when I say “Mississippi,” I get looks and comments. Many are favorable; some are not.
I just hold my head up and go on, because I treasure my ancestral home’s peoples and cultures, and love how we celebrate our good while working on the rest.
And to me, nothing epitomizes our spirit better than the Magnolia State’s official floral emblem. Its beautiful, glossy foliage and huge, fragrant flowers are instantly recognizable worldwide. The Garden Clubs of Mississippi’s Avenue of Magnolias astonishes every visitor and returning native driving through the eight major entrances, and, since 1949, a bold rendering of its flower and leaves has graced our historical markers.
All this is to say that, as of last month, we have a mandate to create something strong and evocative that can represent Mississippi well to people both near and far. Much like Texans’ Lone Star and the South Carolinians’ palmetto, we have an opportunity to extend our positive market brand by putting our uniquely reminiscent state flower on a new state flag, rather than something nearly generic.
Our Legislature decreed that “In God We Trust” be included in the design, which can easily underwrite a bold rendering of the flower.
Main thing is, little this side of roses brings more smiles than the beloved and celebrated magnolia flower. Hope it ends up, in one form or another, on the flag of the great Magnolia State.
Please check out the non-political website www.magnoliaflowerflag.org. If you agree, share the site with friends, co-workers, garden club members, Master Gardeners and on Facebook and other social media.