With a rousing eulogy and a chorus of "Amazing Grace," President Barack Obama called on the country Friday to honor the nine victims of the South Carolina church massacre by working toward racial healing.
He said that includes removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds, which he said would be not an act of political correctness but a "meaningful balm" for the unhealed wounds of slavery and the Jim Crow era.
"It's true, the flag did not cause these murders," Obama said, but "we all have to acknowledge the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride. For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now."
"By taking down that flag," he said, "we express God's grace."