A new flag flew among the three U.S. flags Monday morning on the Columbus welcome sign near Highway 82 East.
The brick sign normally feature four U.S. flags. On Monday, however, a Confederate battle flag fluttered in the wind in place of the leftmost U.S. flag.
City officials, who were at the sign in the morning to remove the flag, said vandals likely replaced the flag overnight or early Monday morning. Officials took the flag down shortly after 10 a.m. and put a U.S. flag back up in its place.
Mayor Robert Smith said a concerned citizen called the city at about 8:45 a.m. He said officials went out to the site to confirm the call after a morning department head meeting.
“We asked our property manager (Mike Anderson) to remove the flag and put the proper American flag back up in its place where it’s been all along,” Smith said.
Smith said there’s little the city can do about the incident, except perhaps charge whoever is responsible for theft and trespassing, if they’re ever caught. Smith said the city will also look to install a camera at the site for use in any future incidents.
In the fall, city leaders decided to stop flying the Mississippi state flag — which prominently features the Confederate battle emblem — on all city property.
Monday’s incident is the first at the sign, Smith said.
“This is the first time since we installed those flags and they’ve been out there for at least a year to a year and a half,” Smith said.
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.
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