The university’s Air Force ROTC color guard will not present the colors Saturday, as they have for many years before home football games (at MSU).
Mississippi State University Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter said the Famous Maroon band will perform a new routine where the crowd’s attention will be directed to Davis Wade Stadium’s permanent U.S. flag in the venue’s southwest corner. He said the band will play “It’s a Grand Old Flag” and during the performance, the P.A. announcer will direct the crowd’s attention to the permanent flag. Salter said the band will then spell out “USA,” which will be on both video boards; face the flag; and play the national anthem.
In previous years, the band played a patriotic song, such as “America the Beautiful,” while an Air Force ROTC color guard unit marched U.S. and Mississippi flags from the visitor to the home sideline. The band then played the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Salter said the routine change — contrary to rumors circulating on social media — has nothing to do with the ongoing debate about Mississippi’s state flag or MSU’s unwillingness to display it.