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Retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North holds a Bible as he speaks about the importance of faith and having a voice in politics at the Tennessee Conservative Convention’s 911 Event in Lebanon last Saturday.

Retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North called on conservatives to use their faith and the power of prayer as a means for national change at the Restoring America: Faith, Family, Freedom event in Lebanon on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks last Saturday.

Attendees were shuttled in by bus to the Jacobson Warehouse Company off Highway 109 from the Wilson Central High School parking lot to hear North, 77, speak at The 911 Event put on by the Tennessee Conservative Convention.

In his nearly 20-minute speech, North described himself as a “God-fearing man” who places an immense amount of importance on family values and tradition. His talking points of situational awareness and communication were heard by what appeared to be a few hundred audience members.

“The best form of communication I have today is called prayer, and so the lesson of all of this is to pray every day,” said North, a Vietnam War veteran who used examples from his time in the military.

Attendees who purchased premium seating were directed by members of State Sen. Mark Pody’s staff to tables near the main stage. Others sat further back in rows of folding chairs.

North expressed his concerns for the state of Virginia, which he now calls home. He said the state has transformed from “the cradle of presidents to the cradle of crazies.” He called out the state’s Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam for contributing to the latter sentiment.

He blamed Northam for “baby killing” and “gun grabbing.”

“We don’t need those kinds of people in office,” said North, who encouraged attendees to take a more active stance in politics at both the national and local levels.

He recommended campaigning to join local leadership like school boards, speaking out against critical race theory and information on gender identity and expression being taught to school children.

“We have people in Virginia — teachers in Virginia, who are leaving in droves from the public school system because they’ve been taught to teach kids in the third grade that God gave you the wrong gender and if you want a different gender, all you have to do is take the right pills,” said North. “It’s outrageous that that would happen.”

North was a staff member for the National Security Council in the 1980s when he participated in an illegal plan to sell U.S. weapons to Iran and funnel the proceeds to rebel groups in Nicaragua. His felony convictions were dismissed in 1991.

He said that the responsibility of upholding American values falls into the hands of the country’s people, the same individuals included within the Preamble of the Constitution.

“That’s why the motto of the United State Marine Corps is so important to me — Semper Fidelis. Always faithful,” said North, who encouraged attendees to pray for the future of the country. “It’s not just a slogan. It’s a way of life.”