Mayor issues warning to SC by hoisting historic flag

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A coiled rattlesnake, seconds away from a lethal bite. It's a visual message North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey is making to the State of South Carolina with the help of a 200-year-old flag.

The great debate over rail placement in North Charleston between the city and the State is hitting it's stride.

"If you step in their path or tread in their way, they're going to bite you," says the Mayor, referencing the rattlesnake on the Gadsden Flag he's hoisted high in front of City Hall.

But the flag's meaning doesn't stop at just a warning.

"Don't tread on me,' the Gadsden Flag is a flag back from Revolutionary times," says Jason Brooke, owner of Carolina Flag and Banner in West Ashley.

"Christopher Gadsden was the developer of the flag and designed the flag," says Brooke. "The idea behind the it was to communicate back to England that we did not want to pay their taxes."

The shop owner says the flag is the epitome of the disagreement between the people and big Government.

Gadsden was a Charleston native and believed the rattlesnake was a good symbol for the American spirit, never beginning an attack but once engaged, never surrendering.

The flag was one of the first used by the Marine Corps in the fight for independence against the British. Since the American Revolution, the flag has been used in times of disagreement with government, most recently, adopted in 2009 by Tea Party activists.

Brooke says when it comes to making a statement, the Mayor couldn't have picked a better piece of history.

The only thing Brooke doesn't agree with is the Mayor's positioning of the flags on the flagpole.

"It should be flown under a state flag," says Brooke. "I don't know of any kind of law that says it has to be in a third position or below, but that's been sort of the rule of thumb."

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