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Dedication of flags, political rally Saturday

As Charles Fortson passed the entrance to Lake Lincoln State Park each morning, he noticed the flag flying there was a little worse for wear.

He decided to do something about it.

Fortson, who owns Uncle Ray’s Restaurant across the street from the park, called a few friends to organize a flag dedication ceremony, which will be held at the entrance Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

The American flag will be retired and a new flag will take its place. The state flag will also be retired and replaced with a new one.

“The retirement and dedication of our country’s flag is a time-honored and momentous occasion,” Fortson said. “We do this to demonstrate our patriotism, respect for the flag and what it stands for, and to honor those who make the ultimate sacrifice in serving our great nation and those who continue to protect the freedoms we enjoy today.”

Mississippi law requires that when an American flag is retired, the same should be done for the state flag so they’ll both be new, said event co-chairperson Cindy Moore.

The replacement flags will be donated by WoodmanLife of Brookhaven and Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven.

The event will begin at Uncle Ray’s with a welcome and prayer by Rev. Wendell Davis, director of the Berean Children’s Home.

That will be followed by a few words by U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Mississippi. Fortson wants veterans to attend, as well, so they can be recognized for their service.

After the recognition, those who want to are invited to walk across the road to the flag for the retirement and dedication service, led by an official from the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

If anyone has a tattered flag that needs disposal, they are encouraged to bring it to the event — folded appropriately — to give to a representative of the Veterans of Foreign Wars for disposal later.

Fortson suggested to organizers that after the event would also be a great time to host a political rally, since elections will be held Nov. 5.

“One of the many freedoms we enjoy is the right to vote and elect officials who will represent us on local, state and federal levels,” Moore said. “The general election for Mississippi’s county and statewide offices will be Tuesday, Nov. 5, and it is important that we have informed voters because this election is about electing Mississippi’s future. For those reasons, Mr. Fortson believed it was time to have a non-partisan patriotic political rally immediately following the flag ceremony to allow area residents to hear the attending candidates’ platforms and goals for the next four years.”

Currie will be the emcee for the rally, which will be held in a shady area outside Uncle Ray’s, beginning at 11:15 a.m. Moore expects the event to last until 2 p.m.

Those who attend are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Concessions will be available for purchase. Rain will move the event to the pavilion at the park.

All candidates listed on the Lincoln County general election ballot and those whose races have already been determined were invited to attend.

The fees to participate — $25 for local candidates, $50 for district candidates and $100 for statewide candidates — will be donated to the Berean Children’s Home.

Several area businesses and civic organizations are helping Fortson host the rally.

For more information call 601-757-4331.