An organizer of a Memorial Day event in Hudson, Ohio, muted a military veteran’s microphone midway through his address after he started to talk about the Black history of the commemoration.
The audio on retired Army Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter’s keynote speech for the Hudson American Legion was suddenly cut on Monday as he spoke about freed slaves being among the first to honor fallen troops soon after the surrender of the Confederacy, reported the Akron Beacon Journal.
In a video shared online by Hudson Community Television, Kemter tapped his microphone, made light of the issue and carried on with his speech.
“I assumed it was a technical glitch,” Kemter told The Washington Post.
Watch Kemter’s speech from the 47:40 mark here. The audio is cut at 50:40:
Cindy Suchan, an organizer of the event, confirmed to the Beacon Journal the audio had been turned down on purpose because Kemter’s comments were “not relevant to our program for the day,” which was “honoring Hudson veterans.”
The audio was restored after two minutes.
Suchan said organizers before the event asked Kemter “to modify his speech and he chose not to do that.” Suchan said she and another organizer, Jim Garrison, were responsible for muting the microphone after a sound engineer refused to follow their request. She didn’t reveal who actually cut the sound.
Kemter lamented the muting of his address. It was recorded in full on a camera microphone, and Kemter said it was “well-received” and prompted “numerous compliments.”
“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,” Kemter told the Beacon Journal. “… This is not the same country I fought for.”
The Ohio American Legion said it was investigating.
The American Legion of Ohio has become aware of an incident on Memorial Day recently published by the Akron Beacon Journal. We take this matter and its allegations seriously. We will investigate and take disciplinary action if necessary. https://t.co/JKeBqnGfSN
— Ohio American Legion (@Ohio_Legion) June 2, 2021
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.