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Confederate Flag Is Issue in S.C.

source: The Associated Press


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Democratic mayors of South Carolina's two largest cities said Friday the Confederate flag should be removed from the Statehouse and put in a granite memorial on the Capitol grounds.

Columbia Mayor Bob Coble, who along with business leaders unsuccessfully sued the state in 1994 to force the flag down, and Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. made the proposal.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has sued over Mississippi's flag and wants tourists to boycott South Carolina.

While opponents say the flag is a symbol of racism, supporters say it represents Southern heritage and South Carolinians' sacrifices in the Civil War.

The idea of moving the flag to a memorial has been offered in the past, but this is the first time specific design plans for a monument have been made. Legislators, who have the sole power to remove the banner, have quashed similar ideas in the past.

The $1.5 million monument's 4 1/2-foot-tall granite wall would be engraved with the names of more than 20,000 South Carolina soldiers who died in the Civil War. The five flags of the Confederacy would fly on poles at the wall and at the center would be the flag now atop the Statehouse. Thirteen stars on the monument floor would represent the states of the Confederacy.

``The monument we believe takes away the Confederate battle flag away from those who have misappropriated it and puts it in a revered, moving and appropriate historical shrine,'' Riley said.

South Carolina is the only state to fly the Confederate flag over its Statehouse, though parts of the flag, with its blue cross and white stars on a red background, are incorporated in the Georgia and Mississippi state flags.