Gov. Nikki Haley signed the bill to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds with former South Carolina governors, lawmakers, Emanuel 9 family members and social activists looking on.
Before the historic signing, Haley talked about the series of events leading up to the shooting of nine members of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on June 17. She referred to the victims of the massacre who welcomed the alleged shooter among them and who prayed with him for an hour.
“That love and faith was so strong that it brought grace to their families,” she said. “It showed them how to forgive. So then we saw the action of forgiveness. We saw the families show the world what true forgiveness and grace looked like. That forgiveness and grace set off another action: an action of compassion, by people all across South Carolina and all across this country. They stopped looking at each others’ differences. They started looking at each others’ similarities because we were all experiencing the same pain.”
That compassion, she said, motivated action that led to the call to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds.
“What we saw in that swift action by both the House and Senate, was we saw members start to see what it was like in each others’ shoes, start to see what it felt like,” Haley said. “We heard about the true honor of heritage and tradition. We heard about the true pain many had felt and we took the time to understand it. I saw passions get high, I saw passions get low, but I saw commitment never ending. And so what we saw was another action, and that action is that the Confederate flag is coming off the grounds of the South Carolina State House.”
Haley vowed that when the flag comes down Friday morning at 10 a.m., it will be done with dignity and said the flag would be put in its proper place.
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