Some 155 years after the last battle of the Civil War, the Confederate battle flag no longer features on any state flags. Mississippi's flag, the last in the nation to incorporate the Confederate emblem, became history Tuesday evening when Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill to retire the flag the state adopted in 1894, the Washington Post reports. "This is not a political moment to me but a solemn occasion to lead our Mississippi family to come together and move on," the Republican governor said at the signing ceremony. "A flag is a symbol of our past, our present, and our future. For those reasons, we need a new symbol."
Mississippi lawmakers passed a bill to abandon the controversial flag Sunday. It calls for a "prompt, dignified and respectful removal" of the flag within 15 days. The move, which follows weeks of protest against racial injustice, had bipartisan support. Reeves said Tuesday that while he rejects "mobs tearing down statues of our history," he understands "the need to commit the 1894 flag to history and find a banner that is a better emblem for all Mississippi," CNN reports. Mississippi is now without an official state flag. The bill calls for a commission to create a new design by September, to be approved or rejected by voters in November. The only requirements set out in the bill call for the flag to have the words "In God We Trust"—and for the Confederate emblem to be excluded. (Read more Mississippi stories.)