Confederate Flag Removed from Alabama Capitol on Governor's Order

Confederate flag
On Wednesday, Alabama removed the Confederate flag from capitol grounds on the governor's order. The removal was a reaction to the South Carolina church shooting that left nine African Americans dead. South Carolina is set to debate the fate of the Confederate flag on their Statehouse grounds. Brian Snyder/Reuters

The Confederate flag was removed from the Alabama capitol grounds on Wednesday morning on the order of Governor Robert Bentley. The flag was quietly removed by two employees at 8:20 a.m., AL.com reported.

"This is the right thing to do. We are facing some major issues in this state regarding the budget and other matters that we need to deal with. This had the potential to become a major distraction as we go forward. I have taxes to raise, we have work to do. And it was my decision that the flag needed to come down," the governor said. He added that the Charleston church shooting, which left nine African Americans dead, inspired the change.

Dylann Roof, the shooter, was fond of the flag and posed in a variety of photographs with it. He was also seen in the series of photographs burning the American flag and visiting a Confederacy museum. 

Unlike in South Carolina where the General Assembly must vote to remove the flag, the governor of Alabama could make the decision independently. 

Though the Confederate flag has been removed, three other Civil War era flags remain: the First National Confederate Flag ("Stars and Bars,") the Second National Confederate Flag ("Stainless Banner,") and the Third National Confederate Flag. The Confederate flag most think of today, with the X in the middle, was actually a battle flag. Troops brought it into battle against Union forces to distinguish themselves. They could not use the Stars and Bars flag, as it was too similar to the American flag used by the North.