Military promotion ceremony held outside due to government closures

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA9) -- The snow may have paralyzed the government, but one military family was undaunted. Today was a highly anticipated day to celebrate one of their own, and nothing was going to stop them.

Lt. Col. Joseph Martin became Col. Joseph Martin in a promotion ceremony that almost didn't happen today.

"It's unbelievable!" exclaimed his father, James, who was among 20 family members who made the trip from Buffalo.

With the wind whipping, and sleet and snow pummeling his family and friends, Army Lt. Col. Joseph Martin became a full colonel, in front of the Jefferson Memorial.

"We were not going to be stopped by a little snow or anything like that for this promotion," said James Martin.

When the government closed due to the storm, so did the Pentagon--where this ceremony was supposed to take place.

But a few government employees hustled to shovel out a spot at the Jefferson Memorial and a top-ranking official drove a four-wheel drive from the Pentagon to officiate.

"I actually had a room reserved at the Pentagon. And it would have been nice and it would have been catered and we would have had cake, but we wouldn't have had this scenery and we wouldn't have had this great memory," said now-Col. Martin.

You see, not only is Col. Martin a well-respected member of the Special Forces, the married father of two and his family are from Buffalo.

"It wasn't going to stop us. You know we're from Buffalo. We've done a lot worse than this! He's a can-do guy. We're so proud of him," said Carol Martin, Joseph's proud mother.

"It's a little snow, it's a little cold, but it's not like Buffalo," added his father.

Despite the snow, and with Thomas Jefferson looking on, a military hero was honored for his 23 years of past service and his future efforts at his current posting, at the Pentagon.

Today marked the second time Col. Martin's promotion ceremony almost didn't happen. The initial ceremony was postponed due to sequestration.

Written by Andrea McCarren


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