ARLINGTON, Va. - President Barack Obama signed into law this week a bill that designates Salem, Mass., as the birthplace of the National Guard. Local officials, politicians and members of the Massachusetts National Guard gathered at the Salem City Hall yesterday to celebrate the signing of the bill.
The Guard’s birth dates back to Dec. 13, 1636 when the North, South and East Regiments of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were formed. The first muster of those regiments then took place on Salem Common, though the actual date has been lost to history.
The area’s significance as the Guard’s birthplace has been widely known and accepted locally. In 2010 Massachusetts Gov. Patrick Duvall signed a similar bill into state law and in 2007 the Salem City Council passed a corresponding resolution.
As a way of celebrating Salem’s role in the history of the Guard, each April Massachusetts National Guard members hold a mustering of troops on Salem Common. The Massachusetts Army National Guard’s 101st Field Artillery Regiment, 182nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Engineer Battalion and181st Infantry Regiment all trace their lineage back to the original regiments that mustered on Salem Common.
"What a lineage we have, what an honor to be here," said Air Force Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, adjutant general of the Massachusetts Guard, during the ceremony. "What a great meeting of all the history in the place."