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USA! USA! USA!': Confederate Flag Comes Down From South Carolina Capitol Grounds

COLUMBIA, SC - JULY 10: A South Carolina state police honor guard lowers the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds on July 10, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Republican Governor Nikki Haley presided over the event after signing the historic legislation to remove the flag the day before. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Three weeks after a gunman massacred nine worshippers in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, the Confederate battle flag that has flown for decades at the state Capitol in Columbia is gone.

The flag issue has ignited fierce passion on both sides, from those who say it honors Southern heritage and sacrifice and those who call it an ugly symbol of racism and slavery.

Calls for the flag to come down reached fever pitch after Dylann Roof, the white man charged with the slayings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, was revealed to have posed with the Confederate flag in photographs.

It took a new state law to bring the flag down, with Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signing the historic legislation Thursday afternoon before the Friday morning lowering.

A crowd cheers as a South Carolina state police honor guard lowers the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds, July 10, 2015 in Columbia, S.C. Republican Gov. Nikki Haley presided over the event after signing the historic legislation the day before. (John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore/Getty Images

John Moore/Getty Images

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley shakes the hand of former Gov. David Beasley after an honor guard lowered the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds for the last time on July 10, 2015 in Columbia, S.C. (John Moore/Getty Images)

A massive crowd broke into chants of "USA! USA! USA!" as members of a South Carolina Highway Patrol honor guard lowered the flag for the final time.

The flag will become part of South Carolina's Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, which has said it is "aware that this is a grave responsibility and will formulate plans to appropriately exhibit it."

One last thing…
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