Flag factories must love Georgia. If Gov. Sonny Perdue signs the compromise legislation OK'd last Friday, we'll have another new state flag, admittedly more attractive than the one we got just two years ago. This will be the sixth flag to fly over the Peach State since 1902.

If voters next March don't agree on its aesthetic superiority, however, we'll revert to the current one, an amalgam of past designs with a dominant state seal. So hold on to those, just in case a majority of us don't like what has been called the Perdue flag.

What we won't be voting for or against is the flag with the controversial Confederate battle emblem, the stars and bars of the St. Andrew's cross. That possibility was eliminated on the last day of the legislative session.

Although some supporters of this flag wanted to think it only honored those brave soldiers of the Confederacy, it also came to represent blatant racism and hatred. It was resurrected to its prominent spot in 1956 by an all-white Legislature. No Georgian, white or black, voted for it. Legislators who were in the Statehouse then say it was intended as a symbolic slap in the face of the federal government, which was seeking to end legal racial segregation in the South.

Until Friday, it looked like Georgians might see that flag unfurled again above our public buildings and schools. An earlier draft of the legislation would have allowed a vote on it in August if the so-called Perdue flag was rejected in March.

If that had happened and it was approved, what message would we be sending to black Georgians, especially children?

We would like to recognize the local legislators who voted for the compromise Friday: state Sen. Tim Golden, D-Valdosta, and state Reps. Ron Borders, D-Valdosta, and Jay Shaw, D-Lakeland. This was a courageous vote for them.

The possibility of the stars and bars returning to Georgia would have been bad for business, of course, but we prefer to think a majority of legislators voted for the compromise because it was the right thing to do.



TIFTON -- Valwood School's golf team bettered its 2002 GISA Class AA state tournament result here Monday, finishing seventh in the 2003 event.

Valwood shot a 348 at Spring Hill Country Club, with junior John Alday just missing all-state honors. He led the Valiants with a 79.

"We're proud of them because we're still a young team," said Valwood coach Alfred Hiers, whose team finished eighth in last year's 16-team tournament. "John had an unlucky break on one hole but he still shot a 79. He's played well all year."

Two of Valwood's Region 3-AA opponents led the field. Tiftarea dominated the event, shooting a 15-over 303 to win by 23 shots over Brookwood.

Gatewood and Pinewood tied for third at 333, with Bulloch at 334. Brentwood finished three strokes ahead of Valwood for sixth.

Also scoring for Valwood were Brayton Dennis (86), Carter Coleman (90) and Blake Evans (93).

Pinewood's Justin Cowart won individual medalist honors with a 1-over 73. He was joined on the all-tournament team by Tiftarea's four golfers -- Ric Ellis (74), David Spain (74), Michael Deariso (77) and Jonathan Arant (78). Gatewood's Mark Reinke (78) rounded out the team.

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