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The Mississippi flag hangs, with the other state flags, in the subway between the U.S. Capitol and Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. In the wake of a massacre at a black church in Charleston, S.C., a bipartisan mix of officials across the country is calling for the removal of Confederate flags and other symbols of the Confederacy. Leaders of the Republican-controlled state of Mississippi are divided on whether to alter the state's flag, a corner of which is made up of the Confederate battle flag. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

"In the wake of that terrible tragedy, the flag issue has returned with a new intensity. Some critics view it as a confirmation of South Carolina's adherence to the failed policies of bygone years — slavery, secession, Jim Crow, segregation and the state's initial opposition to federal civil rights laws.

"Advocates of the flag say that it represents the struggle of this state during the nation's Civil War — a war in which more than 20,000 South Carolinians died. It was a war fought by the ancestors of many of today's South Carolinians, and it reminds those descendants of the gallantry and sacrifice during that bloody conflict.

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"For other South Carolinians, however, the flag has nothing but dire associations that reflect the race hatred and lawlessness of those, such as the Ku Klux Klan, who appropriated it for their own purposes. Flag opponents include black and white South Carolinians.

"In the spirit of reconciliation, the Confederate flag needs to be removed from the Statehouse grounds."

— Charleston Post and Courier

"Flying a Confederate flag, especially on state grounds and in the face of a racially motivated tragedy, does more than recognize history: It glorifies the worst aspects of our country's past. When flag defenders say it represents 'heritage, not hate,' they're only half right. Certainly not everyone who cherishes the flag is hateful. But the heritage it represents is that of secession, defense of slavery and opposition to civil rights. It's a heritage that should be studied but not celebrated."

— Washington Post

"Taking down the rebel banner would underline what the reaction to the killings has conveyed: South Carolinians are better than that. And it would let the killer — and any sick admirers he may have — know that the ultimate effect of his crime is to remind Americans how big a stake they have in overcoming their racial divide."

— Chicago Tribune

"If white Christians in South Carolina are looking for a way to live out their faith during this time of mourning — if they want to offer an expression of selfless Christian love that goes beyond words — they could remove a long-standing source of pain in the African-American community, and one that is implicated in this atrocity: the Confederate flag that flies in front of the statehouse. Not as an admission of defeat, or even a sign of cultural retreat. The flag should come down as an act of Christian kindness.

"Today, those who believe that the Confederate flag stands for Southern honor and nobility, not racism, need not cede their case. They need only acknowledge that the African-American community's discomfort with that flag is understandable and, in the wake of this tragedy, likely to grow. They need only put the pain of others ahead of their own pride."

— Glens Falls (N.Y.) Post-Star

"The issue should have been a slam-dunk ever since the apparently racially motivated killings of nine African-Americans in a Charleston church last week.

"It's a matter of leadership, fortitude and standing up for what is obviously the right thing to do. For a state to sanction the display of the flag that is such a negative, divisive symbol to so many people is just plain wrong and indefensible. Particularly at a time when the wound from last week's killings is so raw."

— Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

"[N]o state government has any business flying a flag symbolizing the dissolution of our union or the scuttling of Americans' liberties."

— Waco Tribune

"State lawmakers who must vote on removing it need to do that now and show the nation they understand the pain this symbol of hate and brutality causes to this day."

— The New York Times

"Lawmakers should vote to lower the flag and never raise it again.

"The Confederate flag is a symbol of white supremacy, and those who say otherwise are dwelling in a revisionist dreamland."

— Denver Post

"The Civil War ended 150 years ago. But as we see on a daily basis, it still reverberates through a society that has often proved incapable of bridging the racial divide. One easy way to start building that bridge would be to mothball this most potent symbol of slavery, and of hatred, while reaffirming a commitment to confront our ongoing national disgrace."

— Los Angeles Times

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