With the emotional debates and protests behind them, South Carolina officials are preparing to quietly remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse where it has flown for more than a half-century.

The state plans a simple, short ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday, ending the rebel banner's 54 years of flying at the Capitol. The flag spent its final hours surrounded by ropes and barricades.

Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill Thursday to remove the flag.

Calls to remove the flag emerged following the fatal shooting of nine people at a black church in Charleston last month. The suspect appeared in photos brandishing the Confederate flag.