These times are a changing. For Charleston, South Carolina, a place known for being where the Civil War started, a place known for selling slaves at auctions, a new day is dawning.

While the hate of one young man killed 9 Americans who just happened to be in church studying the Bible, their death has left an indelible imprint on the citizens of Charleston and for many others living in our country. Nine families found it in their hearts a willingness to forgive the young man who took the lives of their loved ones from this earth. And with that forgiveness, it has changed the hearts and minds of their fellow citizens. Hate may have been the instrument of death but it is forgiveness, love and compassion that has been the result. He may have wanted a race war but ironically his act of wanton hate has brought a city not known for its love and tolerance together as never before.

It is worthy of note that the Grandson of the former Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond, Paul Thurmond, and who is now a State Senator, spoke so eloquently on why it was important to take down the current symbol of hate the Confederate Flag.

For many relatives of the soldiers who fought in the Civil War, it may have represented something, a remembrance of their family history but once the post war period of the beginnings of desegregation began, the flag became a symbol of hate.

In an other act of tremendous symbolism Jenny Horne’s speech turned the tide in the South Carolina legislature in helping to inspire the decision to take down the flag. The irony is that she is related to Jefferson Davis, the former President of the Confederacy. God really does have a sense of humor!

Change takes time, often cruelly slow, but change is happening in what used to be the hotbed of slavery and secession. Let us hope that their wisdom in realizing the need to live together in harmony can inspire others to change and to love their neighbor as they would wish to be loved. It should be the hope and dream of every American that the love and compassion for each other that has taken place in Charleston in spite of an unspeakable tragedy can spread across the land and defeat hate with love and forgiveness.


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