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Flags line the rows of headstones for military service members on Memorial weekend at Lakewood Park cemetery.
Flags line the rows of headstones for military service members on Memorial weekend at Lakewood Park cemetery. (Joshua Gunter)

HUDSON, Ohio (Tribune News Service) — Army Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter now has a chance to share his Memorial Day speech uninterrupted next week.

The American Legion Department of Ohio’s Buckeye Boys State program invited Kemter to give the speech at an event hosted by the organization which teaches young men about city, county and state government. The full text of Kemter’s speech has also been made available, and it can be read here.

Kemter’s microphone was turned off during a Memorial Day ceremony when he spoke of how freed Black slaves contributed to the origins of the holiday.

Cindy Suchan, chair of the Memorial Day parade committee and president of the Hudson American Legion Auxiliary, and Jim Garrison, former adjutant of the Hudson Lee-Bishop American Legion Post 464, participated in shutting off the sound during the speech. It’s not clear who turned off the microphone, but one of them did it, Suchan told the Akron Beacon Journal, which first reported the incident.

Since the incident, the Hudson post has been temporarily suspended. Current members will discuss the future of the post at a meeting June 24. The meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Streetsboro American Legion Post 685.

“The American Legion Department of Ohio understands the value and impact an American Legion Post brings to any community through its Pillars of Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation, Americanism, Children & Youth, and National Security programs,” the American Legion Department of Ohio wrote in a release. “A temporary suspension of charter does not mean a full cancellation of the Post. A suspension of charter will allow the Post to rally its members to make a decision about the future of the Post and to seek new leadership within the election process when the Post suspension is lifted.”

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