NEW: Amid chants and cheers, the Confederate flag is taken down from the South Carolina Capitol grounds
Born in 1861, the Confederate battle flag basically disappeared after the Civil War
It re-emerged during the civil rights movement; South Carolina raised it over the State House in 1961
For 54 years the Confederate battle flag fluttered in the breeze on South Carolina’s Capitol grounds – proudly, defiantly. Through passionate pleadings and stormy condemnations to lower it, to hide it from plain sight.
On Friday morning, it came down.
It was lowered for the last time, furled and sent to the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum, where it will be housed.
The political winds changed quickly for the flag after a racist massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston in June.
The steadfast support for the flag as an affirmation of Southern heritage waned against the overwhelming awareness of the battle flag’s deeply painful meaning: a banner of racial subjugation for many.
It was time to go.
The ceremony was brief. There were no remarks. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t full of emotion, including loud cheers and even chants of “U.S.A.” and “Nah, nah, nah, hey, hey goodbye.”
Like the flag’s presence itself, the cheering was loud.
From its origin in the battlefields of the Civil War to its place in a museum, here’s a time line of the rebel flag that flew over the South Carolina State House: