Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Each year, supporters of Missoula veterans’ issues organize a special veterans day ceremony, with a color guard,  honor guard, a bugler to blow Taps and a speaker to address the crowd.

On Friday, due to the cold weather, the Missoula County Commissioners allowed the ceremony to be held inside the rotunda of the courthouse, where the special speaker was Lt. Colonel Tim Gardipee, U.S. Army, (Ret).

The Annual Veterans Day Ceremony was held Inside the Courthouse due to the Cold

Colonel Gardipee addressed his remarks to ‘Private Doughboy’ from the World War I memorial outside the courthouse.

“Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, you Gold Star mothers or fathers or families, citizens of Missoula, and my beloved fellow veterans,” began Colonel Gardipee. “I was asked in honor to speak this morning in front of private Doughboy. We are close enough for him to hear today we will cover from his perspective.”

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Gardipee recited the many wars and conflicts that have come and gone and the thousands of Americans who sacrificed their lives for their country, starting with World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and Afghanistan.

The Address took a Turn Toward the Political

Toward the end of his address, Colonel Gardipee began to reference President Joe Biden.

“We lost over 2,500 soldiers in the bleak mountains of ‘the Stan’ (Afghanistan) with over 32,000 wounded in action,” he said. “We also lost billions in advanced weaponry, vehicles, arms, ammo, and a horribly botched withdrawal in 2021 ordered by President Biden violating the infantry creed to ‘never leave a man behind or let your weapon fall into enemy hands’.”

Continuing to address ‘Private Doughboy’, Colonel Gardipee said morale among America’s Armed Services is at a low point due in part to what he termed ‘nonsensical requirements’.

“Our military today has lowered morale due to many mandatory nonsensical requirements coming from the commander in chief to include CRT (Critical Race Theory), climate change restrictions involved in all operations, sexual harassment reports daily, and now because of ‘Big Pharma’, free from accountability, wants massive profits and Dr. Fauci-like power, so the military must take an untested, unsafe pseudo vaccine for the COVID 19 virus.”

The Speaker Referenced America's Military Readiness

Colonel Gardipee also quoted the Heritage Foundation and its assessment of current American military capability.

“Today, the Heritage Foundation says the United States military posture is rated weak,” he said. “The 2023 index concludes that the current U.S. military force is at significant risk of not being able to meet the demands of a single major regional conflict. Private Doughboy, brother veterans, and fellow U.S. citizens, today’s status report should be sobering. I hope you can see what poor leadership and bad government policies can do to a priceless investment.”

Colonel Gardipee closed with a heartfelt thank you to all the veterans assembled at the ceremony.

Immediately after the ceremony, one veteran spoke up to disagree with Colonel Gardipee’s assessment, thanking all veterans for their service to their country.

Following the ceremony, Colonel Gardipee and several other veterans, including World War II Iwo Jima survivor, Ron, ‘Rondo’ Scharff, placed flowers in front of the Doughboy statue entitled ‘Over the Top to Victory’.

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