Picayune City Council Approves Declaration of July 8th as Gainesville Volunteer Day

Published 2:28 pm Friday, July 7, 2023

The Picayune City Council voted 4-2 in favor of designating July 8th as Gainesville Volunteer Day, which has generated support and controversy within the community. The council’s vote took place during their meeting on Wednesday.

The proposal to establish July 8th as Gainesville Volunteer Day originated from the Gainesville Volunteers, a non-political and patriotic organization founded in 1995. The organization’s primary mission is to honor and preserve the legacy of the Confederate soldier.

Councilwoman Anna Turnage, Janice Miller Stevens, Councilman Frank Ford, and Mayor Jim Luke voted in favor of the request. In contrast, Councilwoman Lyn Bogan Bumpers and Councilman Larry Breland voted against it.

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Councilman Breland strongly opposed the declaration, stating, “This declaration is a mistake. This would be us taking a step backward.” Councilwoman Bumpers echoed these sentiments, agreeing that the proclamation represented a regressive move for the city.

The approval of the declaration means that July 8th will now be officially recognized as Gainesville Volunteer Day in Picayune. The designation aims to acknowledge the contributions of Confederate soldiers and preserve historical heritage.

Proponents of the declaration argue that it serves as a gesture of gratitude towards those who have served their community. However, opponents contend that such a proclamation is divisive and contradicts the principles of inclusivity and equality the city should uphold.

“The war was fought not unlike many other battles we fought. And at the time there were people that died over this and whether it was right or wrong at the time there were people who cared enough to die for it. It happened and its history, and we cant make it go away.” Ford said

It is important to note that City Manager Harvey Miller clarified that the city’s involvement in the declaration would be limited to its formal recognition. Due to this designation, he emphasized that the city would erect no physical displays or decorations.