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Legion official resigns after censoring Memorial Day speech



The leader of the American battalion in Ohio resigned on Friday. Amid criticism following Memorial Day organizers’ decision to turn off U.S. officers’ microphones retired As he discusses how free black slaves honor fallen soldiers after the Civil War.

American Legion leaders in Ohio also suspended the Post’s charter and are taking steps to close it.

The move was fueled by a strong backlash over the decision to censor retired Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter, who said he included the story in his speech. Because he wanted to share the history of Memorial Day.

But organizers of the ceremony in Hudson, Ohio, said part of the speech had nothing to do with the theme of the city̵

7;s veterans honoring program.

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Cindy Suchan, chairman of the Memorial Day Parade Committee and chairman of the Hudson American Legion Auxiliary, said this week that either she or Jim Garrison, an aide to American Legion Post 464, rejected the vote, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

The Garrison resigned from his leadership a day after state organizations called for him to resign, said Roger Friend, division commander for the Ohio American Army. The garrison was asked to cancel all memberships, Friend said.

“The Ohio Department of the American Military does not have a space for members, veterans, or families of veterans who believe censoring black history is acceptable behavior,” Friend said in a statement.

He said the censorship was premeditated and planned by Garrison and Suchan.

“They know when to turn the volume down and turn it up again,” Friend said.

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on the day before the ceremony Suchan said she reviewed the speech and asked Kemter to remove some of it. Kemter said he did not see the suggested changes in time to rewrite the speech.

In this frame, grabbed from a video hosted by Hudson Community Television, retired Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter touches a microphone after organizers muted it during a Memorial Day speech on Monday. May 31, 2021 In Hudson, Ohio, Kemter's microphone shutdown ceremony was held when he began speaking about the liberation of black slaves in honor of fallen soldiers shortly after the Civil War.  (Hudson Community Television via AP)

In this frame, grabbed from a video hosted by Hudson Community Television, retired Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter touches a microphone after organizers muted it during a Memorial Day speech on Monday. May 31, 2021 In Hudson, Ohio, Kemter’s microphone shutdown ceremony was held when he began speaking about the liberation of black slaves in honor of fallen soldiers shortly after the Civil War. (Hudson Community Television via AP)

Kemter, who spent 30 years in the Army and served in the Persian Gulf War, told The Beacon Journal he was disappointed that organizers silenced his 11-minute speech for two minutes.

His microphone was cut as it began to talk about how former slaves and freed blacks exhumed the bodies of more than 200 Union soldiers from their graves in Charleston. South Carolina and bury them properly

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At first Kemter thought there was a problem with the sound so he tapped on the microphone.

His decision to silence him was an insult to Kemter and all veterans. Hudson’s mayor and city council said in a statement on Thursday.

“The veterans have done everything we asked of them during their service. And this tarnishes what should be a celebration of their service,” the statement said.


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