Confederate Flag At S. Carolina Statehouse Headed To Military Museum
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And we've been watching some powerful images from the state of South Carolina. Just moments ago, the Confederate battle flag was removed from the front of the Statehouse in the capital, Columbia. As that flag came down, a crowd let out an ecstatic cheer.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)
GREENE: Now, let's remember a contentious debate led to this moment, a debate sparked by the shooting deaths of nine people at a black church in Charleston. The suspect there was photographed clutching a confederate flag. Yesterday, many people came to get a final glimpse of the Statehouse flag. Duncan McFadyen from member station WFAE reports.
DUNCAN MCFADYEN, BYLINE: A steady stream of people came to see the flag on what would be its last full day on the Statehouse grounds. Maria Calef says she's come here every day this week, carrying a sign that she modified after lawmakers voted on the bill.
MARIA CALEF: Take down the flag. Or here we said, we are taking down the flag.
MCFADYEN: Laura Suber of Columbia brought her three grandchildren.
LAURA SUBER: I want them to learn and see history in motion just as it is.
MCFADYEN: Others were sad to see it go. For them, the flag represents state history and their family heritage. Later in the day, Governor Nikki Haley signed the bill into law in front of an overflow crowd inside the Statehouse. She used nine pens to represent the nine victims of the Charleston shooting.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
NIKKI HALEY: When the emotions start to fade, the history of the actions that took place by everyone in South Carolina to get us to this moment is one that we can all be proud of.
MCFADYEN: Following the ceremony, a crowd gathered outside as cars honked.
(SOUNDBITE OF CARS HONKING)
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Singing) Da-da-da-da...
MCFADYEN: People were able to walk right up to the flagpole. The flags's new home is just down the street at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum. It documents the state's military history from the Revolutionary War through present day. One of the curators, Joe Long, says the museum has a collection of Confederate battle flags. He points out a red wall where some used in the Civil War hang in glass frames.
JOE LONG: We have three regimental flags. They've been damaged in battle. They've been souvenired. Whenever you see little pieces missing with a right angle, somebody took scissors or a pocket knife to that.
MCFADYEN: The museum hasn't said when this latest flag to their collection will be put on display. For NPR News, I'm Duncan McFadyen in Columbia. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.