South Carolina has moved to put this episode behind it. I shall do the same…following this post.
I did not see the ceremony to retire the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina State House grounds. I happened to have a doctor’s appointment at that time. My wife snapped the photos you’ll see in this space from the live TV coverage.
In my recent memory..there are two events I said I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. One is an African-American president. The other is the permanent lowering of the Confederate flag in the Palmetto State. Last Friday’s transfer of the banner to a state museum relic room needed to happen…because the state could not move forward without it.
Since the Emanuel A.M.E. Church tragedy in Charleston, the flag has been nothing but divisive. It is true that it has an indelible place in the history of America. I will even venture to say that had there not been a Civil War, I hesitate to think of what quality of life I would have right now. But its association with support of slavery..and representative misuse by entities like the KKK have forever overshadowed the pride that many white Southerners have in a cause their ancestors volunteered to fight and die for (whatever it may be).
Many African-Americans do consider it a victory. But really..the entire state should see it as such. Since the “retirement”, we have seen the NCAA lift its ban on championship events in the state. Since NCAA men’s basketball tournament sites are set through 2018, I think it’s a reasonably good bet you may see a South Carolina city as a regional site host in 2019. Also..just this past weekend, the NAACP ended its 15 year economic boycott of South Carolina.
Now that the flag has been ceremoniously folded and put away, it will be interesting to see what happens on May 10th, 2016. That is Confederate Memorial Day in South Carolina — as is decreed by state law.
Will those hard feelings rise again? It’s likely.
But for now…South Carolinans should do as (rapidly rising political star) Gov. Nikki Haley asks: reflect, come together…and heal.