COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - As protests for the removal of Confederate monuments continue across the country, and on South Carolina State House grounds, WIS is learning more on the plan to display the Confederate flag that once flew at the State House.
Museum staff at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum are preparing funding requests for state dollars to display the flag separately from other exhibits. The separate space they would construct would cost between $200,000 to $300,000.
In early August, WIS got an exclusive behind the scenes look at the flag in storage; it's been kept in a box since its removal from the State House grounds in July 2015. As a condition of its removal, lawmakers mandated it is displayed in the Relic Room.
However, Director Allen Roberson calls that an unfunded request. Now, lawmakers are responding to the plan Roberson is preparing to present before state budget committees.
"My goodness. There are so many things that we leave loose ends with in trying to do, but I think it was pretty much agreed that it was going there. It just has not been completed. So, the completion of it would be important and I hope we can get there," Rep. Chip Huggins (R- Lexington) says.
Huggins sits on the House 'Ways and Means' budget panel that would decide whether to gr ant taxpayer dollars for the display.
Roberson believes the flag should have its separate exhibit from the other authentic battle flags there, actually carried in battle, and that's where the cost comes in. But Huggins agrees the display should be separate from others.
"It's about all of the wars, and you go through the different time periods of those. My dad was a World War II vet. He was a Korean War vet, and to see all of that displayed and see those different time periods, is just so neat to honor those that in South Carolina have served," Huggins says.
But another lawmaker, Sen. John Scott (D- Richland) does not agree. Scott sits on the Senate Finance Committee.
"When you have the kind of challenge we had when nine people lost their lives, and it was centered around hate and the flag you've taken down and then you tell me on the other hand, you want to tell me to let's celebrate it by spending $300,000. I think they need to treat the flag like all the other flags down there. Display it, and let's move on," Scott says.
Scott feels any funding needed should come from private donations instead of state dollars, and that there should be a focus on removing monuments at the State House, instead.