South Carolina lowers the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.

VIA NPR

Marking Historic Moment, South Carolina Removes Confederate Flag 

Jaluladin Abdul-Hamib shouts

Jaluladin Abdul-Hamib shouts "Take It Down" on the grounds of the South Carolina State House back in June.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

During an emotional ceremony and amid popular cheers, the Confederate battle flag was brought down from a 30-foot flagpole that sits on the grounds of the State House in Columbia, South Carolina.

The ceremony was conducted by South Carolina State Troopers, who marched in formation in front of a cheering crowd of hundreds.

Slowly, they cranked the flag down from the pole, rolled it up and marched out.

The crowd chanted, "USA! USA! USA."

The flag was first flown over the state's Capitol dome in 1961, celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the Civil War. But it was kept there as a protest against the Civil Rights movement. After calls from African Americans to remove it, it was moved to the spot it now occupies in 2000.

As we've been reporting, the flag and the dark past of American history that it invokes became the subject of controversy yet again after a gunman entered a historically black church, opened fire and killed 9 people.

After intense debate — about history, hate and Southern pride — both chambers of the state government and S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley agreed on legislation that calls for removing the flag and moving it to the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.

Today, Haley watched the ceremony from the steps of the State House. She was flanked by lawmakers — both black and white. What began as a somber ceremony, quickly turned celebratory as the crowd sang, "Na, na, na, na. Na, na, na, na. Hey-ey Goodbye."

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