COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Confederate flag was lowered from the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse today, ending its 54-year presence there and marking a stunning political reversal in a state where many thought the rebel banner would fly indefinitely.
The crowd applauded, cheered and chanted “USA, USA”, “God Bless America”, and “hey, hey, hey, goodbye” as the Civil War-era flag was ceremoniously lowered.
The white man charged in the killings, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, appeared in photographs posing with a Confederate flag that surfaced on a website bearing a racist manifesto.
After weeks of intense national debate, the Confederate battle flag was removed from the South Carolina Capitol on Friday.
Among the throngs gathered outside the statehouse were those who supported removing the flag, considered by many to be a symbol of slavery and oppression, but also those who believe it represents Southern pride and heritage. The flagpole, too, will be torn down, but no timetable is set.
Miller is the cousin of Rev. Daniel Simmons, one of the nine victims of the Charleston church shooting. It will be placed with several other artifacts that belonged to Confederate soldiers.
“Will people still wear the symbol on their T-shirts or fly it from their homes?”
Supporters of the flag were disappointed, but resigned.
Haley signed a bill regarding the flag’s removal not long after the South Carolina House of Representatives approved the measure by a vote of 94 to 20 on Thursday, Yahoo! It is being brought down after nine black church members were killed during a shooting last month. “Sure they will. But as far as this flag symbolizing a state or local government, that day is over”.
“But be clear, the prospect of a bigger boycott, more economic sanctions, were effective”, he said.
South Carolina Republican Governor Nikki Haley, who pushed for the state legislature to enact a law to remove the flag, was among those watching on the State House steps. “But today I’m very proud to say that it is a great day in South Carolina“. A few citizens brought their own Confederate flags, to make a statement on Southern heritage.
And we’ve been watching some powerful images from the state of South Carolina. “I was taught if you see that flag displayed, it’s a bewarement being an African American or black person”, she said.
“If I do my job right, and that means I need to work harder, the people will talk about the lives of those nine people”, Haley said, adding that her state showed the rest of the country “what real love looks like”.