Sometimes things just slip through the cracks.
Such was the case for most local governments in the Golden Triangle when it came to Gov. Phil Bryant’s order to lower flags to half-mast in memory of late Mississippi Congressman Alan Nunnelee, who died Friday.
The governor ordered flags at public buildings lowered to half-mast from Friday until sunset on Monday.
On Tuesday, The Dispatch reported that Columbus City Hall inadvertently failed to comply with the order but that flags flew at half-mast at most other facilities throughout the city. Turns out, the city of Columbus may have been the Golden Triangle government most compliant with the order.
City buildings in both Starkville and West Point failed to lower flags Monday, and Lowndes County Administrator Ralph Billingsley said flags at the Lowndes County administration building also flew at full-mast.
“I did not get the directive that we were doing that,” Billingsley said. “I’m not aware that any (county official) did.”
Clay and Oktibbeha County officials said they did not recall whether they lowered flags at administrative buildings. Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Chadd Garnett said his office did fly the flag at half-mast on Monday.
Despite the oversight regarding the flags, local governments still found ways to show respect for the Nunnelee family following the congressman’s passing.
Columbus Mayor Robert Smith said he and Police Chief Tony Carleton attended Nunnelee’s funeral Monday.
In West Point, Mayor Robbie Robinson said the board of selectmen held a moment of silence in Nunnelee’s memory at its Tuesday meeting.
“We didn’t receive the notice about the flags, but we certainly would have done it had we known,” Robinson said. “I kind of regret now that we didn’t do it anyway, with or without notice.”
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman echoed similar sentiment on Wednesday.
“We mourn the loss of Congressman Nunnelee as a city,” Wiseman said. “He was a fine man and an outstanding public servant. Had we known that an order to fly flags at half-mast had been given, we would have been honored to comply.”
When contacted this morning about how cities and towns throughout Mississippi are notified about flag orders, a spokesperson with the governor’s office said a notice is posted to the governor’s website, media is contacted and state agencies are notified.
Zack Plair is the managing editor for The Dispatch.