More veterans join push for vote

Published 5:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2000

MONTICELLO — Veterans here are joining the increasing debate topreserve the state’s embattled flag by circulating a petitioncalling for a referendum vote.

George Turnage, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No.4889, said it was for issues like this that the referendum vote wascreated. Some veterans in Lincoln County have also asked that theissue be put on a state ballot.

“We have two sides who firmly believe they are right and willnot change their opinions on an issue that affects the entirestate,” he said. “If you don’t have a referendum vote on an issuelike this, when do you? I think this will be a good deal. I believeit will force them to put this to a referendum vote inNovember.”

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Turnage said he did not create the petition, but received itfrom his district commander in Batesville.

“This isn’t just a local petition,” he said. “It’s circulatingstatewide. They sent them out to communities all over the state andasked for them to be set out.”

The petition began its local circulation nearly a month ago,Turnage said, but veterans are not actively seeking signatures. Hesaid they prefer a more passive approach. The petition has beenplaced at Jay’s Restaurant for residents to sign.

More than 200 Lawrence County signatures have already been sentto Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, Turnage said, and he has more than 100more to send.

He said the petition does not ask for an opinion on whether thestate flag should or should not be repealed, but simply asks thatthe issue put on the ballot.

“Our stance is that this is not a white-black issue, but that itis an issue that is dividing the state and should be decided by thecitizens of that state,” Turnage said.

Some believe the Confederate banner in the upper left corner ofthe state flag is a reminder of slavery, while others believe itrepresents their pride in their Southern heritage.