On April 17, 2001, Mississippi voted on replacing its state flag. The debate, as most things in Mississippi do, became an emotional one. I remember that day because of the hate-filled phone calls I had received (I was for changing it). At 5:30, my doctor called and said, “You have cancer.”

I laughed.

He paused and then asked, “Why are you laughing?”

I said, “This is the nicest call I’ve had all day.”

When I was wheeled into surgery a couple of days later, I wondered if I’d survive. I just didn’t think I’d ever see the flag changed. Nearly 20 years later, I have both survived and seen that change.

We have come a long way since 2001 and in many ways are still in the same place. But we now have a banner we can all sit together under. And be proud of our great state together.

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Marshall Ramsey, a nationally recognized editorial cartoonist, shares his cartoons and travels the state as Mississippi Today’s Editor-At-Large. He’s also host of a weekly statewide radio program and a television program on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and is the author of several books. Marshall is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and a 2019 recipient of the University of Tennessee Alumni Professional Achievement Award.