Hundreds gather for S. C. anti-Confederate flag ceremony
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Several hundred people are at a Confederate flag rally in front of the South Carolina Statehouse, urging legislators to remove the flag.
People chanted "bring it down, bring it down" as the rally got started. One of the people there was Tom Clements, who says he loved the flag when he studied about his family's history as a teenager, but then he grew up.
Clements, born in Savannah, Georgia, had a poster of photos about his great great grandfather who fought for the Confederacy and three great great uncles who died for the South.
For years, he wouldn't talk publicly about his ancestors even though he was quite proud of what they did.
"The racists took over the memories of the Confederacy," said Clements, a long-time activist who opposes the use of nuclear power and fuel. "I didn't feel right feeling like I was with them."
Rev. Norvel Goff, the interim leader at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, applauded calls to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds. However, Goff says the historic church's focus will stay on the "homegoing celebrations" of the nine people killed inside, including slain senior pastor Clementa Pinckney.
Dylann Storm Roof, who has appeared in photos holding Confederate flags, is charged with the murders.
Goff says it is time for the Confederate flag to come down "because of what it represented." But the loss of Pinckney and the others is foremost for the church right now.
"Most certainly the flag is an issue, but there are other issues that need to be addressed in addition to that," Goff says. "There is a time and place for everything."