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Last Memorial Held for South Carolina Church Shooting Victims

  • Reuters

FILE - A woman stands next to Emanuel AME Church, the site of the mass shooting, as the sun rises, June 26, 2015, in Charleston.

FILE - A woman stands next to Emanuel AME Church, the site of the mass shooting, as the sun rises, June 26, 2015, in Charleston.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley predicted the controversial Confederate flag "will come down" during comments delivered at the last memorial service for the nine victims of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church shootings on Tuesday afternoon.

Hundreds of mourners packed another Charleston AME church, Greater St. Luke's, to remember Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons, 74, an army veteran who served in Vietnam.

"This was a man who served his God and his country and his people," Haley said.

The apparent racist motives of the white man charged in the June 17 killings have sparked an intense dialogue across the U.S. South over the legacy of slavery and its symbols, centering on the Civil War-era battle flag of the Confederacy.

Photos surfaced of Dylann Roof, 21, a white man charged in the shooting, posing with the Confederate flag on a website that also displayed a racist manifesto.

"Emanuel showed us what love was like," said Haley, recalling the virtues of each of the victims and the moving words of Christian forgiveness by the relatives of victims at Roof's first court appearance. "People in Charleston took it personally, the country took it personally."

Haley brought the church to its feet when she declared: "That Confederate flag will come down."

She added: "That is just the start for South Carolina and for people around the country - seeing what it's like to live in each other's shoes. We will act on what has happened and we will never forget the Emanuel Nine."

President Obama delivered a powerful eulogy at Friday's funeral for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41, pastor of "Mother Emanuel" and a revered state senator. The arena was packed with 5,400 people as thousands more watched from satellite locations in the city, lined streets outside, or watched live broadcasts on TV.

Simmons was a fourth-generation preacher who served at eight South Carolina AME churches before he retired in 2013, according to his online obituary. He also was retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs where he worked in vocational rehabilitation.

He will be buried on Thursday at Fort Jackson National Cemetery near Columbia.

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