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Southern Traditions

Let me say that I am a Southern girl and very proud of it.  Always have been.  I love Mississippi, the state, the people, and everything about it. Let me, also, say that I can be very niave in my little world.  I thought that certain traditions were the norm.  But I have recently figured out that some traditions are just born and raised in the deep South.  Like me, they have never really ventured far from home.  This made me start thinking about our "legacy" as a state and our future since certain events have unfolded here in the past couple of weeks.


My beautiful home state of Mississippi has been looked down upon by others in our great nation for a very long time.  We have been called racists, red necks, hicks, barefoot and pregnant, trailer trash...the list could go on and on.  Numerous movies have been made here and books written, showing the southern way of life to be that of secrets, lies, and outright racial bigotry.  I realize that our state (along with every other one is this nation) has an immense and intense history.  But with all that being said, what is our legacy?  Mississippi does not lead the nation in education, progress, or technology.  So how can Mississippi be a leader that makes the entire nation take a second look?

Last Saturday, two officers of the Hattiesburg Police Department were gunned down and subsequently died by the hands of a few thugs.  Officer Liquori Tate and Officer Benjamin Deen gave their lives to protect ours.  Our city, our state, and the nation shook and trembled as the news spread quickly.  The heartbreak and tremendous sadness that followed covered our city with a blanket of tears.  Our beloved Mississippi is in mourning.

The next night blue lights started appearing on porches, driveways, and at our front doors. More and more of them shining every night since.  Flags are all flying at half mast to honor the two gentlemen who selflessly gave their all.  Law enforcement and citizens from all over the state and the nation began showing their support, their love, and their heartbreak over this senseless tragedy.

The city holds its breath as the officers are brought back home for untimely arrangements and decisions to be made by the precious families.  Citizens line the streets to show honor and respect to these brave men.  Other parts of the nation see the traffic stopped, citizens standing on the side, fellow officers saluting, and American flags flying and wonder is this the start of the riots, the marching, the mayhem?  Is Mississippi going to show her true colors? Yes, Mississippi was beginning to show her true colors.

During the days following, Mississippi showed her grief, her love, her true colors, every mile that those officers traveled to their final resting place.  Each mile was covered with the tears of strangers standing side by side.  The final procession was over 30 miles long and spanned over several cities.  What a glorious sight to see!  Mississippi is showing her true colors and shining brighter, as the nation watches.

Businesses closed not from looting but out of respect and honor.  Strangers flooded the sides of the street, black or white didn't matter, not marching or rioting just standing up for what's good and deserves to be honored.  No rocks thrown or hate speech screamed, only quiet prayers offered.  No fires started, just candles being lit in honor.  Yes, Mississippi has proudly shown her true colors!  She is shining bright and showing the nation that Mississippi bleeds honor, respect, and most of all, love.  I pray that this tradition travels all over our beautiful nation from sea to shining sea.


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