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Historic Confederate Flag In Minnesota Also Once Caused Debate

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The governor of South Carolina made a decision Monday that got the nation's attention.

Gov. Nikki Haley called for the confederate flag to be moved from its post in front of the state house. This comes four days after nine African-Americans were gunned down during Bible study in a historic Charleston church.

The suspect has been linked to extremist groups, and photos show the 21-year-old waving the confederate flag. Defenders of the flag say it represents a page in the state's history, as the capital city, Columbia, served as a battlefield. The governor said it's time to take the prominently-displayed flag down.

A half a country away, the waving confederate flag has captured attention. Gov. Mark Dayton spoke Sunday of the flag that was not lowered after the Charleston shootings: "The fact that the flag wasn't lowered at half-mast is very shocking and very, very shameful."

Now, Dayton says he agrees with the decision: "150 years after the civil war, the time has come."

South Carolina's governor made the announcement Monday afternoon. Haley spoke with a long line of legislators from both parties behind her: "We are here in a moment of unity in our state to say it's time to move the flag from the capital grounds."

A special session will determine if that happens.

As it turns out, back in Minnesota a different confederate flag is displayed from time to time.

Sondra Reierson is a curator with the Minnesota Historical Society. After being displayed in the basement of the state capital, the battle flag from Gettysburg is now periodically displayed at the Historical Society.

"Minnesota captured the flag, so it was definitely a symbol of victory for Minnesota and for the union," Reierson said.

She says it's one of the only battle flags outside of the south causing a battle of its own.

"In the late 90s, a group from Virginia asked to have it back," Reierson said. "A re-enactor group asked to have the flag returned to Virginia."

After an attorney general ruling, the state kept it. Now, more than a thousand miles away, a totally different flag debate may also be coming to an end.

The issue of the flag is not a done deal in South Carolina. They still have to have a special session after the regular legislative session.

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