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In June, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill to remove the state flag's Confederate imagery and adopt a new design.
The state's Department of Archives and History is in the process of finding a new flag and has narrowed down thousands of submissions.
One of the 147 semi-finalist designs was the "mosquito flag," designed by a Mississippi resident as a joke about the pest that flies rampant throughout the state.
Officials later announced that the mosquito design was not supposed to be a semi-finalist and that it made it into the running because of a "typo."
Mississippi's state flag is getting a makeover.
On Friday, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) announced nine designs that are in the running to become the next flag.
The search for a new design comes after Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill in June to remove the flag's Confederate imagery, following approval from the Mississippi House and Senate. The state's most recent flag, which was adopted in 1894, is the last in the US to feature a Confederate battle flag.
"I am signing the bill to retire the 1894 Mississippi flag and begin the process of selecting a new one—emblazoned with the words 'In God We Trust,'" Reeves wrote in a Facebook post in June. "This is not a political moment, it is a solemn occasion to come together as a Mississippi family, reconcile, and move forward together."
As part of the redesign, the Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag received thousands of submissions for a new flag and previously narrowed the pool to 147 options, which were previously published online.
One mockup — dubbed the 'mosquito flag' — mistakenly made the flag commission's original cut
As the commission narrowed down its potential flag options, it included what's become known as the "mosquito flag."
The flag featured an enlarged image of the pest, and to fit Reeves' requirement, the design included the US national motto "In God We Trust" — but in this case, the text was made practically microscopic at the bottom of the design.
The mosquito flag was created by Thomas Rosete, who told the Clarion-Ledger that the submission was originally a lighthearted way to poke fun at the pests that unite Mississippians. Rosete told the Clarion-Ledger that he works on a river and is all too familiar with the rampant mosquitoes.
"I believe people from all backgrounds can get behind this and raise it proudly," Rosete told the Jackson, Mississippi, newspaper. "I said something like that in the (submission) email. And now I actually do believe that."
The mosquito design became a source of conversation and entertainment online. However, the MDAH later released a statement saying that the bug-clad design entry was not supposed to be included in the narrowed-down list.
"The mosquito flag advanced to Round Two due to a typo in a list of flag numbers submitted by one commissioner," the MDAH said in a statement published by The Hill. "That commissioner has requested that the flag be removed from the Round Two gallery, and MDAH staff has complied."
While the flag was not meant to be, the design quickly attracted a growing fanbase.
—Butter (@thebutterknife) August 15, 2020
—Jemar Tisby (@JemarTisby) August 10, 2020
—Legal Beagle (@DixieDog_0) August 13, 2020
"This mosquito flag does represent a pretty large population of the state," one Twitter user wrote of the design.
"I'm slowly realizing my love for the mosquito flag might not even be ironic. It's so bad it's good. I would proudly fly the mosquito," another user tweeted.
Voters in Mississippi will be able to approve the new design in this year's election, according to the Associated Press.
Read the original article on Insider