A second official with American Legion chapter in Hudson, Ohio, involved in a controversial Memorial Day event has resigned after it was revealed that she and another organizer conspired to make sure a retired Army officer’s microphone was lowered as he spoke about the role Black people played in the origins of Memorial Day.
The American Legion Auxiliary of Ohio requested a resignation last week from Cindy Suchan, who chairs the the Memorial Day Parade Committee and is the president of the Hudson chapter, but she had not announced plans to do so, even after another official involved in the censorship resigned and apologized for his role.
“All parties involved in the events that occurred at the Memorial Day ceremony at the Hudson Post have resigned,” according to the website.
American Legion Department of Ohio Executive Director Suzette Heller said she was notified of Suchan’s resignation on Sunday, nearly a week after the May 31 event intended to honor Hudson veterans.
The resignation came after American Legion Department of Ohio announced on Friday that it is suspending the Hudson Lee-Bishop American Legion Post 464 Charter, pending permanent closure, following officials’ censorship of retired Army Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter.
Halfway through Kemter’s 11-minute speech about the origins of Memorial day, as he spoke about how freed slaves honored fallen soldiers at a May ceremony in 1865, his microphone was cut.
Suchan and adjutant Jim Garrison were aware of the contents of Kemter’s speech prior to the event and suggested that he alter what he was going to say, but the veteran refused.
Suchan told the Akron Beacon Journal Kemter’s remarks were “not relevant to our program for the day.”
According to Roger Friend, department commander for the Ohio American Legion, Garrison and Suchan “knew exactly when to turn the volume down and when to turn it back up.”
Suchan has not specified whether she or Garrison turned down Kemter’s microphone.
Garrison resigned as post officer amid the controversy and the state Legion requested he give up his membership altogether. Kemter told TMZ he received a phone call from Garrison on June 4, in which the embattled official apologized for turning Kemter’s microphone down the speech.
Kemter previously said he thought the discrepancy in sound was simply a technical error.
“I wanted to explain how the African-Americans were responsible and instrumental in establishing the first Memorial Day one month after the end of the Civil War,” Kemter told 3News. “I wanted to explain this little-known part of American history.”
Kemter will have another chance to give his speech uninterrupted after The American Legion Department of Ohio invited him to speak at the Buckeye Boys State, an annual gathering where young men learn about government.
All current members of Hudson Post 464 will meet on on June 24, the state Legion announced on Tuesday, to discuss the future of the chapter. According to state Legion officials, under a suspension, Post members can rally together and seek to continue the chapter under new leadership when the suspension is lifted.
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