- Associated Press - Saturday, April 21, 2018

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina’s governor is asking his counterpart in Iowa if “Big Red,” a flag that Citadel cadets flew before the Civil War, can stay at the South Carolina military college.

Iowa has allowed The Citadel to keep the red flag with the white palmetto tree and crescent emblem since 2010 when a museum realized its significance.

The flag flew over a South Carolina island a few months before the start of the Civil War when Citadel cadets stopped a Union resupply mission.

An Iowa Civil War soldier took the flag home at the end of the war and donated it decades later to the State Historical Society of Iowa in Des Moines. It was identified in 2009 with help through the internet.

Iowa loaned the flag to The Citadel, but the deal is set to expire in 2021. McMaster wrote his Republican counterpart Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds asking to make the loan permanent.

“I am confident the respect and good will demonstrated between the states of Iowa and South Carolina will allow for a mutually satisfactory solution,” said McMaster’s letter, obtained by The Post and Courier of Charleston .

The two governors will likely speak by phone soon, McMaster’s spokesman Brian Symmes said.

McMaster’s letter notes the flag found in Iowa is almost identical to South Carolina’s indigo blue state flag except for the red background.

The Citadel trademarked “Big Red” and it became the school’s spirit flag in 1992, replacing Confederate flags.

The flag is currently displayed at the school’s Holliday Alumni Center where 200,000 visitors have seen it. Citadel alumni have donated more than $80,000 to keep it safe and preserved, McMaster wrote.


Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com

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