The Confederate battle flag flown in front of the state Capitol in South Carolina is finally down. Welcome to the 21st century South Carolina!! A brief ceremony started at 10:00am this morning. After more than 50 years the flag was lowered.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Closing a chapter on a symbol of the Deep South and its history of resistance and racial animus, South Carolina on Friday lowered the Confederate battle flag from outside its State House, where it had flown for more than 50 years.
The flag came down amid heavy security and loud cheers at a Friday morning event that followed days of emotional debate in the State Legislature and, on Thursday, the final approval of Gov. Nikki R. Haley, who had pledged that the symbol would be lowered “with dignity.”
Shielded across the decades by both Democrats and Republicans, the flag left its pole outside the State House only 23 days after nine black churchgoers were killed at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The flag, which flew above the State House before it was moved in 2000 to a spot next to the Confederate Soldier Monument, had long been a subject of deep disagreements and public protests. But it was the June 17 massacre at the church, which the authorities have described as a hate crime, that provoked Ms. Haley and scores of other elected officials in both parties to demand the battle flag’s removal.
While watching the video you can hear the chants of U.S.A. and then the crowd broke out into Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye by the group Steam.
After the flag was lowered it was folded by members of the South Carolina Highway Patrol Honor Guard. It was then handed over to fellow Honor Guard Lt. Derrick Gamble who was the last person to handle the flag.
Lt. Derrick Gamble, a black man, carrying away the Confederate battle flag forever from the place where it flew for more than 50 years. A symbol of division, a reminder of a painful past, rolled tightly with a ribbon in the palms of his gloved hands.
Humbled and poised in his crisp gray uniform, Gamble said his role in Friday’s Honor Guard ceremony permanently furling the rebel banner was just “another mission.”
“To me, maybe it hasn’t sunk in,” he said, “but it’s just part of what we do.”
The flag has been moved to the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum which is located near the Capitol.
I’m happy to see that the flag is finally down but why did it take the massacre of nine people in a church to make it happen?