MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – The confederate flag flies outside the statehouse in Columbia, but the Myrtle Beach City Council says it needs to come down.
Governor Nikki Haley said, last week, the flag should move after the shooting in Charleston. On Monday, she got support from Myrtle Beach City Council, which passed a resolution for the state general assembly to remove the flag.
At the hearing, there were people who talked about the importance of the flag’s heritage, but everyone who attended agreed that the place to celebrate its history is in a museum and not on state house grounds.
“People need to understand why this is so difficult, why taking this flag down is going to be so difficult for some people,” said Bo Bryan, who was born and raised in Myrtle Beach.
He says he grew up idolizing figures of the confederacy and those that fought in the civil war and attended the hearing because, “I felt it was necessary for people from my background, and my generation needed a little bit of a voice here.”
But after the church shootings in Charleston, Bryan didn’t take the podium in the flags defense, instead sharing an essay he wrote called Take Down the Flag, Let Fly the Future South, “it just seems very sad to me that an icon like the flag has to come down in such an ignoble fashion.”
Still he says after the tragedy at Emanuel AME Church, he understand the need to move forward, without the flag, “You can’t go back, my heritage is forgiveness,” said Bryan.
Joseph Washington, Pastor of Hope Church in Carolina Forest says though tragic, the events that occurred also create an opportunity to move equality forward, “it is an opportunity, this is a watershed moment in our history.”
“It is a new day, there never is the wrong time to do the right thing,” said Councilman Wayne Gray.
Gray says, as the center of the state’s tourism economy, it was important that the people of Myrtle Beach lend their voice to the cause.
“And I hope that there will be a majority in the general assembly that vote, quickly and swiftly to move that off of the state house grounds,” said Gray.
Bo Bryan added, “There’s no debate here. We’re doing the right thing.”
Chamber president and CEO Brad Dean said the vote reaffirms the chamber’s desire to promote unity throughout the state. Myrtle Beach is the center of the state’s $18 billion tourism industry.
State lawmakers have agreed to debate removing the flag.