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The Confederate Flag: Is it still an issue?

Confederate flag
The Confederate flag is part of the Battle of Aiken monument in Downtown Aiken. (WRDW-TV / July 28, 2011)

AUGUSTA -- NAACP President Benjamin Jealous called upon S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley to bring down the Confederate flag that still flies on the grounds of the State House near her office.

However, some South Carolinians believe that the state has moved past the issue since 2000 when the flag was moved from the top of the State House building to a monument near the premises.

"As far as the Rebel flag, it really has no effect on me personally," said James Patterson, who is a barber at Axis Barber Shop in Aiken. "The history behind the flag is kind of the problem that the people of South Carolina have."

Robert Conn, who works at T&W Motors in Aiken, understands the flag has a lot of history in the South.

"I think it's all right as long as it's not aimed as a racial thing," Conn said.

Some feel that the Confederate flag symbolizes Southern heritage. Others see it as an artifact of history.

"I feel like it's a part of history, something that's been around longer than anyone living," said Melinda Keenan, who's a waitress at Ferrando's in Aiken.

When asked if the placement of the flag was an issue that needed to be addressed, others turn their attention toward other concerns.

"There's so many more things that can be improved right now like the unemployment rate," Conn said.

The presence of the Confederate flag in South Carolina may spark much debate and controversy, but some South Carolinians are convinced that they have moved past those events.