You know it's hard for us to look at what is happening today and not think back to 22 days ago, it seems like so long ago, because the grieving has been so hard.
We have all been struck by what was a tragedy we didn't think we would ever encounter.
Nine amazing people that forever changed South Carolina's history… having said that I have to acknowledge the series of events that took place through all of this, because it is the true story of South Carolina. The actions of what took place will go down in the history books.
Nine people took in someone who did not look like them or act like them, and with true love and true faith and true acceptance, they sat and prayed with him for an hour. That love and faith was so strong, that it brought grace to their families. It showed them how to forgive.
So then we saw the action of forgiveness, we saw the families show the world what true forgiveness and grace looked like. That forgiveness and grace set off another action. An action of compassion, by people all across South Carolina and all across this country. They stopped looking at each other's differences, they started looking at each other's similarities, because we were all experiencing the same pain.
So then you take that compassion, and that compassion motivated action. That compassion motivated people wanting to do something about it. So the action was taken by the general assembly. And what we saw in that swift action by both the house and senate, was we saw members start to see what it was like to be in each other's shoes. Start to see what it felt like we heard about the true honor of heritage and tradition we heard about the true pain that many had felt. And we took the time to understand it.
I saw passions get high.. I saw passion get low but I saw commitment never ending… And so what we saw was another action. And that action is that the Confederate flag is coming off the grounds of the South Carolina State House.
So tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., we will see the Confederate flag come down… We are a state that believes in tradition, we are a state that believes in history, we are a state the believes in respect, so we will bring it down with dignity and we will make sure it is put in its rightful place but this is a story about action. This is a story about the history of South Carolina and how the action of nine individuals laid out this long chain of events that forever showed the state of South Carolina what love and forgiveness look like… and I will tell you that now this is about our children because when they go back and look in the history books, while we're still grieving and the grieving is going to last for a long time. When the emotions start to fade… the history of the actions that took place by everyone in South Carolina to get us to this moment is one that we can all be proud of.
So 22 days ago, I didn't know if I would ever be able to say this again, but today I am very proud to say that it is a great day in South Carolina.
And so with that we don't want to wait any longer we are now going to sign the bill.
So I want to say it is with great pride that I am surrounded by members of the Emanuel nine families.. I want to thank them for taking the time to come. I am also surrounded by former governors who put their name on a letter… put their support together to say, yes while we have been a part of South Carolina's past, we want to see this part of South Carolina's future in the right direction… so I thank everybody who is with me today. (sign's bill)
With that I am proud to say the bill has been signed, I do want to also acknowledge these nine pens are going to each of the nine families of the Emanuel 9.
May we never forget the actions those people took to get us to this point today… And the I've got a couple of other pens.. many of people have talked about the courage that took place by so many across this state but one person started this almost 2 decades ago and that was Gov. David Beasley and the last time I saw him I said you started it, and he said well I need you to finish it… now I have.
And the second one was someone who also understands what this can feel like… what the tensions can feel like.. what it means to do something… he worked very hard and is the person who brought the Confederate flag off the dome… and I want to thank you for all that you've done in terms of support.. and all that you've to lead South Carolina in the past… Gov. Hodges…
And these two are for me.. so that with that I will tell you thank you very much, thank you for making it another great day in South Carolina.. we are now looking forward to the future and the future of our children. Thank you very much, God Bless.