The Highway Patrol honor guard that took down the Confederate flag before a crowd of almost 10,000 on the South Carolina Capitol grounds was the same group that carried slain state Sen. “It seems like so long ago because the grieving has been so hard”.

Brighton Lester, 27, of Columbia and his wife, Megan, 24 were at the State House on Friday carrying large Confederate flags on poles. Now, even that flagpole was removed Friday afternoon.

Family members of the nine victims of the Charleston Church shooting watched from the Capitol steps.

Boehner was forced to halt consideration of a government funding measure after it became engulfed by the Confederate flag controversy and whether it was appropriate to display the flags at national cemeteries where Confederate soldiers are buried.

Haley did not answer questions about the upcoming ceremony, but earlier Friday on NBC’s “Today” show, she said: “No one should ever drive by the Statehouse and feel pain”.

States across the USA are moving on without their Confederate symbols.

Also among those watching the flag’s lowering was Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, who in 2000 led a 120-mile (190-km) march from his city to Columbia to protest the flag.

Then, after about 10 minutes, Kennedy said, “The Confederate flag is a sign of defeat”. Gov. Haley signed the bill into law Thursday afternoon.

“Just because it’s a symbol of our southern pride and that’s all it is”, said one supporter.

“It feels so good to be out here and be happy about it”, said Ronald D.

“The whole world is asking, is South Carolina really going to change, or will it hold to an ugly tradition of prejudice and discrimination and hide behind heritage as an excuse for it?” They stood stoically as they waited to take down the Confederate flag. Cindy Lampley clutched a poster showing photos of ancestors who fought for the Confederacy.

He advised other states considering the removal of Confederate symbols to “proceed carefully”.

“When the emotions start to fade, the history of actions that took place by everyone in South Carolina is one we can all be proud of”, she said. “I was taught if you see that flag displayed, it’s a bewarement being an African American or black person”, she said.

“But be clear, the prospect of a bigger boycott, more economic sanctions, were effective”, he said.

As this debate played out in the South Carolina legislature, representatives in Washington DC discussed whether Confederate flags should be removed from the capitol building there.