Thousands with differing views gather to watch the Confederate f - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Thousands with differing views gather to watch the Confederate flag lowered

COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - Thousands of people packed into the area around the Confederate flag at the South Carolina state House Friday, and as the flag was lowered, some cried tears of joy, while others cried tears of sadness. 

The Confederate flag may be down, but emotions are still flying high. As many were happy to see the flag lowered, others couldn't help feel it was a disappointing day. The crowd of thousands all huddled together to see the flag come down. Even though the person next to them might have not felt the same way, everyone could agree, today was about respecting each other no matter what. 

"Take it down! Take it down!" the masses chanted. 

"We can honor our history but we don’t have to have it in our forefront, we don’t have to have it right in our faces like this," Tim Crenshaw said. 

"I think it was a long time coming, and it’s time, it’s been a really long time. It’s time to take it down," Betsy Bray said.

Right before the flag was lowered, a confederate reenactor who goes by the name of Squirrel walked through the crowd head-to-toe in a Confederate battle uniform, holding the Confederate flag high. Though some people didn't take to him kindly, one woman even tried taking the flag from him, he had a message of love and respect.  

"This may be a great day for South Carolina but only history will tell, I mean history’s come 150 years and they took her down, they got her down, so you know, God bless 'em all, and I hope everyone gets along and does right. They don’t have any fight or any anger after what’s been done today," the man said. 

The flag may be gone, but some feel the debate continues.

"But we are still debating things because there are still people who felt that flag should remain and should stay," Jacqueline DeGraff said. 

"This right here, this right here, and this right here, ain’t gone away just because that’s gone away," one man said as he pointed to the back of his confederate flag vest, tattoo and heart. "It don’t change the way people feel, not in their heart, not in their minds," he added. 

Though it’s clear some do not see eye-to-eye, others believe today was an overwhelming day of unity no matter what.

"This is definitely a show of unity to see both white and black come together, I can’t think of another event in which that’s the case," Betsy Bray said. 

The flag and pole have both been removed from State House grounds. 

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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