In an interview this week with The Akron Beacon Journal, Ms. Suchan-Rothgery acknowledged that she or Mr. Garrison — she didn’t specify — had turned off Mr. Kemter’s microphone for 2 minutes. She advised the newspaper that Mr. Kemter’s narrative “was not relevant to our program for the day” and that the “theme of the day was honoring Hudson veterans.”
Ms. Suchan-Rothgery and Mr. Garrison, didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark on Thursday.
The episode swiftly drew worldwide consideration to the solemn observance in Hudson, a city of some 22,000 folks about 15 miles north of Akron, Ohio, at a time of reckoning within the nation over racial injustice.
Until that second, the service had resembled numerous others that happen each Memorial Day. There was the taking part in of faucets, the studying of the names of native armed forces members who died whereas serving the nation and the location of wreaths.
Mr. Friend stated within the assertion on Friday, “We are deeply saddened by this and stand in unity and solidarity with the Black community and all peoples of race, color, religion, sex, and gender, so that those who are exclusive of such persons will know that this behavior is not acceptable in the American Legion, in our homes, our hearts, our communities, in private, public, or anywhere.”
In a press release issued on Thursday on Twitter, James W. Oxford, the nationwide commander of the American Legion, saluted Mr. Kemter for his efforts to spotlight the “important role played by Black Americans in honoring our fallen heroes.”
“We regret any actions taken that detracts from this important message,” Mr. Oxford stated. “Regardless of the investigation’s outcome, the national headquarters is very clear that the American Legion deplores racism and reveres the Constitution.”