My dad – who is almost completely recovered from last summer’s stroke – was Commander of his American Legion, he still cooks at Chicken Tuesdays, Fish Fridays, and hangs out on college football Saturdays with his buddies. This would break his heart.
And how in the hell is sharing the beautiful story of how Memorial Day began during such a time of loss after the Civil War controversial? Except to fucking racists.
“I find it interesting that [the American Legion]…would take it upon themselves to censor my speech and deny me my First Amendment right to [freedom of] speech…This is not the same country I fought for.”
Retired Army Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter https://t.co/tLMG62634Q
— Connie Schultz (@ConnieSchultz) June 3, 2021
This is absolutely bizarre. But also…sadly, not surprising. Bravo to LTC (Ret) Kemter for pressing on through the bigotry. https://t.co/IsX0Fi4QVi
— Angry Staff Officer (@pptsapper) June 3, 2021
Vote Vets does the right thing:
We sound corrected the part of Lt. Col. (Ret.) Barnard Kemter’s speech that was muted when his mic was cut off this past Memorial Day in Hudson, Ohio. He spoke of freed slaves being among the first to honor the fallen after the Civil War. Please take a moment to listen. pic.twitter.com/gjidUZF6ci
— VoteVets (@votevets) June 3, 2021
HUDSON — What at first blush appeared to be a short audio malfunction at Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony in Markillie Cemetery turned out to be anything but.
A ceremony organizer turned off the microphone when the event’s keynote speaker, retired Army Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter, began sharing a story about freed Black slaves honoring deceased soldiers shortly after the end of the Civil War.
The microphone was turned down for about two minutes in the middle of Kemter’s 11-minute speech during the event hosted by the Hudson American Legion Lee-Bishop Post 464. (See the start of the speech at the 47-minute mark in the video embedded at the link)
They didn’t even try to deny it.
At a certain point in Kemter’s speech, Suchan said she asked A.J. Stokes, the event’s audio engineer, to turn off Kemter’s microphone. She said Stokes refused to do it himself, but pointed to the knob that controlled the microphone.
Stokes confirmed his refusal and that he did point to the knob. He said it was Garrison who turned down the audio and then turned it back up a short time later.
When reached by phone Wednesday, Garrison declined to say whether he turned down the microphone and said he had “nothing to add” regarding the situation.
Stokes said Suchan and Garrison were both “very adamant” about turning off Kemter’s microphone.
“That was very improper,” Stokes said. “I would’ve never done something like that.”
He said he was “very upset” about what happened and hoped he was not being blamed. Suchan emphasized that Stokes was “totally blameless.”
He noted he’s handled the sound engineering for the event since the late 1960s and has his own company, Stokes Sound & Video Inc.
After the ceremony, Stokes said he apologized to Kemter about the loss in audio, but also told him, “I had nothing to do with that. Cindy and Jim were the ones that turned your microphone off.”
When I was a military kid, as we traveled from base to base, and our neighbors reflected the diversity of the country, my dad often told me the story of how Bootcamp was the first time that “this 18 yr old New England boy” had spent time with POC and it changed his life. Even with a late-in-life Fox News infection, my dad is still adamant about equality and inclusivity. He’s even come around to celebrating several of my cousins who have married their partners and proudly hangs their wedding photos on the china hutch. For a sometimes cranky 84-year-old, he’s really still a liberal at heart, despite his protestations to the contrary.
I would be proud to meet retired Army Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter and join him at Chicken Tuesday, where the food is scary but the crowd at my table is rowdy.