This morning at 10:00 AM, in a 15 minute ceremony, an honor guard under direction of South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, permanently furled the Confederate battle flag. The flag has flown on the SC statehouse grounds since 1962, when it was hoisted, depending on who you ask, either as a celebration of the Centennial of the Civil War, or as a middle finger to Integration and the Civil Rights Movement.
Thousands of people attended the emotional, but peaceful ceremony. As the honor guard brought the flag down, an impromptu chant of “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” broke out.
As I personally watched the spectacle, I couldn’t help but feel like it was the first time I heard that chant and fully appreciated it without irony. Immediately thereafter, another chant hilariously broke out—the chorus of Steam’s 1969 hit “Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye.”
While the majority of attendees were celebrating the removal of the Confederate flag as a symbol of power from the seat of representational government, there was a vocal minority in attendance who felt that somehow their “history was being erased” or that somehow their First Amendment rights are being chipped away.
Local Columbia news channel, WIS TV, reported on the ceremony and directly following, broadcast a remarkable chat with a sobbing Confederate flag supporter.
Brandy Burgess of North Carolina, who had driven from an entire state away to see the flag removed, delivers a marvelous Southern word salad in this interview.
“It feels like we’re going backwards. Everybody’s all about equality.”
“Everybody that was chanting ‘U.S.A.!’ and all that… it felt like they were slapping me in the face.”
“If everybody says this should be in a museum for history then why can’t we put the name of history on it?”
Bless her heart. Does anyone have a flag handy to wipe her tears?
Presented without further comment: