Girls State Delegates Provide Keepsake American Flags for Deployed Soldiers
Friday, June 11, 2010
Contact David Tisdale, 601.266.4499   

After spending a week at The University of Southern Mississippi learning about the finer points of representative democracy, American Legion Auxiliary Girls State delegates showed their true colors with a community service project honoring the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Delegates folded 650 miniature American flags and placed them in small plastic pouches with a message of support from Girls State to be distributed by military chaplains at Camp Shelby Joint Training Center to soldiers as they are processed in and out of deployment overseas. Several delegates delivered the flags to the chaplains at Camp Shelby on Thursday.

“It includes a message that we are praying and supporting them (troops) as they defend the freedoms we enjoy, and allows them to carry a little bit of America with them while they are deployed,” said Girls State delegate Meg Giesemann of Starkville.

Giesemann said in addition to learning about politics, delegates also learned about the history and significance of the American flag during the 63rd session of the program, and how the American military safeguards the nation.

“As I was folding the flags, I thought a lot about the soldiers who are overseas serving our country,” Giesemann said. “My brother is in the U.S. Navy and both my grandfathers served in the military, so taking part in this project meant a lot to me.”

Camp Shelby Chaplain Steve Yarber, whose daughter Kelly Beth Yarber served as a Girls State delegate from Petal and helped with the project, said the flags are a real morale booster for the troops.

“When they start to miss their family and friends, they pull out this flag and it reminds them of home, and that they’re serving for a cause bigger than themselves,” he said. “Unless you’ve been there, you just don’t how important it is to them. It means more than words can say.”

More than 200 young women from across the state were on the Southern Miss campus this week, June 5-11, for the 63rd session of the American Legion Auxiliary Magnolia Girls State. The weeklong program teaches delegates about the mechanics of democracy through simulated political campaigns, legislative and judicial processes in the fictitious state of “Magnolia.” For more information, online visit

Legion Auxiliary Girls State delegate Meg Giesemann of Starkville delivers a box of miniature American flags placed in plastic pouches with a message of support for soldiers to U.S. Army Chaplain Terry Partin Thursday at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in Hattiesburg. Delegates folded 650 of the flags to be distributed by Partin and other chaplains to troops as they are processed in and out of deployment overseas. (University Communications photo by David Tisdale)

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The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities.  In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world.  Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at