A case of censorship on Memorial Day in Ohio

WKYC reports on a censorship incident in Hudson, Ohio, at a Memorial Day observance. From the article:

Organizers of a Memorial Day ceremony turned off a speaker’s microphone when the former U.S. Army officer began talking about how freed Black slaves had honored fallen soldiers soon after the Civil War.

And now the American Legion of Ohio is calling for the resignations of the two people responsible.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter tells 3News he thought it was an audio glitch at first, but it was no glitch at all. His microphone was purposely muted for several minutes.

Kemter said he included the story in his speech because he wanted to share the history of how Memorial Day originated. But organizers of the ceremony said that part of the speech was not relevant to the program’s theme of honoring the city’s veterans.

The story goes on to elaborate on how the retired colonel was asked to change certain portions of the speech, presumably the ones that occurred while his microphone was muted. To Barnard’s credit, he claims not to have gotten notice he was asked to edit–or perhaps I should say censor–part of his speech, and the city officials he talked to advised him to make no changes.

The particularly obscene and vile part of this censorship is that it was about African American former slaves and their role in the first Memorial Day (or as it was called then, Decoration Day) observances. That effectively makes this a racist incident, especially since Hudson prides itself as the home of an abolitionist and part of the underground railroad.

It’s a slap in the face to the people who strive to make this world a better place for everyone regardless of the color of their skin. Thankfully, something will be done about the people who decided to cut the microphone and silence what may well have been the most important part of the speech. I appreciate that the former colonel gave the organizers the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes the answer really is that such a malevolent act of censorship was done on purpose.

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