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Last year, this veteran's Memorial Day speech was censored in Hudson. Listen to a full recording

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Hudson Community Television
Last year, retired Lt. Col. Barney Kemter (right) was censored in Hudson during his speech about what some historians call the first Memorial Day, when about 3,000 Black schoolchildren joined a ceremony to honor fallen Union soldiers. Cindy Suchan (left) chaired the Hudson Memorial Day Committee at the time and later resigned.

Northeast Ohio was thrust into the national spotlight last Memorial Day.

Retired Lt. Col. Barney Kemter was giving a speech in his hometown of Hudson about the first Memorial Day, which was celebrated by people who had recently been freed from slavery. But officials with the American Legion, organizers of the ceremony, didn’t like the speech — saying it wasn't relevant — and cut off his mic.

The legion was widely criticized and the post was dissolved. This year, a new legion post is organizing Hudson’s parade, and Kemter will be speaking in Buffalo, New York, the community he said was “the most insistent” that he repeat the speech.

Before he left, he recorded the speech for Ideastream Public Media's "The Sound of Ideas."

The First Memorial Day
Listen to a recording of retired Lt. Col. Barney Kemter's full speech