Confederate flags could fly again at Fort Sumter

VIDEO: Confederate flags could fly again at Fort Sumter

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Confederate flag has been a topic of discussion since the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME.

Since then National Parks have been asked to take down their Confederate flags, however there is a possibility the flags could go back up.

A letter from the United States Department of the Interior states because of the church shooting nearly two weeks ago, the parks need to reconsider selling items with the flag on it, and displaying the flag.

It says flags "shall not be flown," except where they provide historical context.

Many say Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie are exceptions.

"Well considering everything that's happened recently, I really don't have a problem with it," said Neal Blount who lives in North Charleston.

At Fort Sumter, all versions of the Confederate flag have been pulled down since the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME.

"I can see where everybody is coming from with it, but I honestly think it's just heritage and history and think they should leave it alone," said Eddie Watts who lives in Summerville.

Fort Sumter was the spot where the first shots were fired during the American Civil War.

It was eventually taken over by Confederate troops until Charleston was captured by the Union in 1865.

Watts said the Confederate flag should be removed from the statehouse grounds, but not from Fort Sumter.

"Some people, I understand, view it as just their heritage, but as a museum aspect, I believe they should leave it because it was such a big part of this place," Watts added.

The Charleston Museum has replica National Confederate flags in its exhibits.

A spokesperson says at this time, they don't plan to remove them, because they are being shown in a historical context.

"The flag is so many things to so many people," Blount said. "It doesn't offend me but could offend somebody else. But when you start taking everything down that offends everybody, or this person or that person, then you're going to be taking the American flag down next."

In addition to the flags being removed from all national parks, including Fort Moultrie, the gift shops, which are not run by the park system, were asked to voluntarily stop selling items, like clothes, that show the flag.

However books and DVDs where it's historically depicted are allowed for sale.

"I understand people in the South wanting to keep that heritage, but on the other hand, it is 2015 and it's time to move on," Mike Stanch, who is visiting from Chicago, said.

A spokesperson at Fort Sumter said the site doesn't meet the exception for the flag to be flown right now.

He said visitors are able to ask questions and learn the story behind the flags, while people, for example, at a beach, are not able to do the same.

He said that makes it difficult to provide that "historical context".

Ultimately, the decision of whether the flags will go back up at Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie, is up to the National Parks Service.

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