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Courtroom history made: Jeremy Vaughan promoted

By John Estridge, Editor

Surrounded by family and friends, Franklin County High School graduate Jeremy Vaughan held a promotion ceremony in the Franklin Circuit Court Courtroom early Saturday afternoon, Feb. 3.

Vaughan was promoted from Major to Lieutenant Colonel in the Army.

His sister, Army Reserve Major Christine Perera, read Jeremy’s promotion orders.

Vaughan, who has more than 16 years of service in the Army, is stationed at Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M. He is working on his PhD in nuclear engineering.

Jeremy had the promotion ceremony in his hometown because his father, Jerald Vaughan recently had medical issues and was unable to travel.

Brookville American Legion Firing Squad brought in the Colors.

After that, Franklin Circuit Court Judge J. Steven Cox kicked off the ceremony by giving an introductory talk about the courtroom and the historical perspective regarding the promotion ceremony. It is the first promotion ceremony to take place in the courtroom, he said.

Cox said people have found justice in the courtroom, been married in the courtroom, and far more, have had marriages dissolved in the courtroom. Displaced children have found homes and love due to decisions rendered in the courtroom. Immigrants have sworn oaths to the Constitution and become citizens of the U.S. in the courtroom.

“We have never had the privilege of witnessing the elevation of one of our armed forces members promoted in this room,” Cox said. “I appreciate the honor and the distinction of being invited to participate in this proceeding. Because all the things I talked about happening in this room are not possible without the men and women of our armed services. Because for every right granted to us by the Constitution, which is our sacred document, it means nothing without the ability to back it up. He (Jeremy) has done exactly that.”

Rick Gill was the day’s emcee. A Veteran, he is the assistant commander of the American Legion.

Gill said he had known Jeremy all of his life as Jeremy and Gill’s son Sgt. Chad Gill went to school together and were very competitive in cross country for FCHS.

“They achieved what they did achieve because they pushed each other,” Gill said.

Gill said when both Chad and Jeremy entered the Army it was an honor for him as Gill also served in the Army. According to Gill, he has closely followed Jeremy’s Army career.

Gill, Chad and Jeremy were all stationed at the Schofield Barracks on Hawaii. They were there at different times.

Chad read letters congratulating Jeremy. They were from Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly and former Congressman Lee Hamilton.

Perera quoted Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s famous speech at West Point using the words: “duty, honor, country.” It is the motto at West Point.

“It is Jeremy’s motto, too,” she said.

According to Perera, Jeremy was at West Point on 9-11. The country has been at war the entire time Jeremy has been in the Army. Many Americans do not know how long America has been at war, because only 1 percent of the population has served in the armed forces during that time.

During his time in the Army, Jeremy has been in Afghanistan twice and Iraq once for a total of 36 months serving in war zones.

She said while there are seven years separating them in age, Jeremy is her little brother, because both chose West Point: duty, honor, country, they have a bond.

Then, Perera read the promotion orders and the oath of office.

After that, Jeremy’s family: father, mother, maternal grandmother and wife took part in pinning his oak leave clusters on his uniform.

With his new insignia designating him a Lt. Col., Jeremy took the oath of office given by Perera.

Jeremy then stepped to the lectern.

He talked about his other promotions. He became a captain in Afghanistan. Jeremy passed out coins to many of those in attendance by using the storied tradition of the secret handshake.

He talked about he loved his Franklin County home and how nice it was to be here for the ceremony.

With his remarks finished, the Firing Squad came in again for the Colors and took them from the room.

After the ceremony, the family hosted a fried-chicken dinner at the Pioneer. Later in the afternoon, there was a happy hour at Third Place.