Nikki Haley: Charleston church victims are 'looking down'

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who authorized the removal of the Confederate flag from state grounds, said she will be thinking about the victims of the Charleston church massacre when the rebel banner comes down Friday.

"I think we can all say that, hopefully, the Emanuel Nine are looking down and feeling proud today, Haley said in an exclusive interview with TODAY's Matt Lauer.

The flag was thrust into the national spotlight after nine black parishioners were shot and killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The confessed shooter, a 21-year-old white man named Dylann Roof, had posed with the Confederate flag in photos.

South Carolina lawmakers this week voted to remove the flag from Capitol grounds in Columbia, and Haley on Thursday signed the measure into law. The flag will be placed on display at the Confederate Relic Room.

"There's a place for that flag, and the flag needs to be in a museum where people can continue to honor it appropriately," Haley said.

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This article originally appeared on NBC