COLUMBIA, S.C. — As South Carolina lawmakers prepare to debate the position of the Confederate flag at the state Capitol, residents of the Palmetto state are sharing mixed feelings about it.
“To me, it’s history,” said Ann Vanderhorst, who traveled to Columbia to see the flag in person. “I don’t understand why we can’t part ways with it after 150 years.”
But for some, it’s about heritage — not hate.
“I’m from the south, I had relatives that fought in the Civil War,” said Clint Browning, a Lexington resident. “I think that flag represents people dying for what they believed in.”
But for others, the flag will always represent racism.
“As long as that flag flies, I am still symbolically a slave,” said Vanderhorst.
In the wake of the Charleston church shootings, S.C. Governor Nikki Haley is calling for the flag to be taken down. Two thirds of the state legislature must approve the change.
“I think it’s terrible what happened in Charleston, I think it’s awful,” said Browning. “I don’t think the flag had anything to do with it.”
Lawmakers will soon start discussions about the flag’s place on state grounds.
Some residents say that no matter the flag’s physical location, it will always hold a special place in their hearts.
“My great, great, great, great grandaddy fought in that war,” said James Mars. “He was fighting for what he thinks is right.”