(AP Photo/Lou Krasky, File).

The turnabout seemed unthinkable before the June 17 massacre of nine black parishioners – including a state senator – at a Charleston church during a Bible study. Photos of Dylann Roof, the man charged with the killings, surfaced in the days after the rampage showing him posing with the Confederate flag.

“Now they’ll say we are one people, we’re one family, we all live in the same house, the American house”, Lewis added. While she didn’t speak, she nodded and smiled in the direction of the crowd after someone shouted: “Thank you governor”.

That bill passed the House with bipartisan support early Thursday morning after 13 hours of increasingly tense and emotional debate, in which defenders of the battle emblem insisted it represents Southern heritage, not racial oppression.

On its final night on the pole, the flag was surrounded by a barricade and guarded by almost two dozen state troopers.

Highway Patrol Cpl. Rupert Pope downplayed the significance of their race in the ceremony. “We can save for another day where this flag needs to go”, said Rep. Jenny Horne.

The move comes three weeks after nine African Americans were murdered in their church in Charleston, South Carolina. “We made history and the flag is down”, said Jamie Cabbagestalk of Marion, South Carolina.

“The tragedy was a tragedy”.

“Today, as the Senate did before them, the House of Representatives has served the State of South Carolina and her people with great dignity”, said Haley, ABC News reported.

For the flag to be officially removed, however, a bill had to be introduced and get a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the legislature. It was also raised as a symbol of white resistance to the growing Civil Rights movement and effort to end segregation. The alleged gunman, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, had posed in photos with the flag and the FBI is investigating a racist manifesto that he may have written.

Many thought it would stay there. The flagpole will also be torn down, but no timetable is set.

“But as I watched it, just um, a ton of emotions just washed over me”.

Thousands of people gathered at the Statehouse and many were cheering “take it down” moments before the flag was removed.

He says he feels betrayed by his state leaders. Many who couldn’t make it were still following the historic ceremony, including stars like Kerry Washington and President Barack Obama. “U.S.!” The flag was then handed to Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith.