HUDSON, Ohio – Both organizers of a Memorial Day ceremony have now withdrawn under pressure after silencing a retired U.S. Army officer’s microphone while talking about how liberated black slaves honored fallen soldiers right after the Civil War.
Cindy Suchan, chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Memorial Day and president of the Hudson American Legion Auxiliary, resigned nearly a week after the ceremony, the Akron Beacon Journal reported Tuesday.
Suzette Heller, department adjutant for the American Legion Department of Ohio, said she was told on Sunday that Suchan had resigned. Jim Garrison, adjutant for American Legion Post 464, retired last Friday.
The U.S. Legion Department in Ohio said censorship of the speech about the role black people played on Memorial Day was deliberate and planned by Garrison and Suchan.
“They knew exactly when to turn down the volume and when to turn it up again,”
The organizers of the ceremony in Hudson, Ohio, initially defended their decision, saying that the part of the speech that remained silent was not relevant to the program’s theme of honoring the city’s veterans.
In the days before the ceremony, Suchan said she reviewed the speech and asked retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Barnard Kemter to remove certain parts. Kemter said he did not see the proposed changes in time to rewrite the speech.
Kemter, who spent 30 years in the army and served in the Persian Gulf War, said he was disappointed that his microphone was off for two minutes.