ongressman John Tierney, Mayor Driscoll, Major General L. Scott Rice, Commander, Massachusetts Air National Guard and other local leaders hosted a ceremony earlier today to mark Salem's federal designation as the birthplace of the National Guard. Last week, President Obama signed Congressman Tierney's legislation recognizing Salem as the Guard's birthplace, the culmination of an effort started in the Salem City Council and successfully passed through the State House of Representatives and Senate.
"It has been a privilege to work with state and local leaders on this important legislation, which pays tribute to those who first defended our country and honors those men and women who continue to serve in our National Guard today. Our country's earliest military regiment first met, organized and conducted drills in Salem to prepare for defending the local community. I am thrilled that our National Guard and our city have received this recognition," Congressman John Tierney said.
"Our city is honored to be officially recognized as the birthplace of the National Guard by President Barack Obama," said Mayor Kimberley Driscoll of Salem. "Immense thanks is due to Congressman John Tierney for introducing and spearheading this recognition, which comes on the heels of a similar state designation signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick last year, ably assisted by State Representative John Keenan and our City Council. This is a proud moment for Salem and a chance to recognize the collective spirit of the people who live here -- both past and present -- who have never shied away from banding together for the common good."
State Representative John D. Keenan said, "the National Guard and city of Salem share a long rich history and today's bill signing acknowledges that legacy. Importantly, today also honors the men and women who have defended our country since the Guard's inception 375 years ago on Salem Common. Congratulations to the city of Salem and to the Massachusetts National Guard."
"Massachusetts holds the honor of being the nation's first militia and while our missions and training have changed, our Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen remain proud to carry on the same patriot tradition that began more than 376 years ago right here in Salem. The lineage of the nation's first regiments, 181st and 182nd Infantry Regiments, 101st Field Artillery Regiment, and the 101st Engineer Battalion, are still operational today and elements of those units have served in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan," said Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard.
"With this legislation, the entire country recognizes the historic beginnings of the National Guard in Salem. This is a momentous recognition for the city and for all those who have served and who continue to serve in our nation's military," said State Senator Joan Lovely.
"Massachusetts has recognized the rich history of our National Guard rooted in the City of Salem, and we are honored to receive this national recognition," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, Chair of the Governor's Advisory Council on Veterans Services and Chair of the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force. "Governor Patrick and I thank Congressman Tierney, our entire congressional delegation, and advocates who have helped to honor the Commonwealth's history, Massachusetts veterans, and servicemen and women across the country."
The nation's first militia, which was the foundation for what would become the National Guard, first mustered on Salem Common in 1637. In 2007, Salem City Council unanimously adopted a resolution naming the City of Salem as the birthplace of the National Guard. The Massachusetts State Legislature subsequently adopted a similar resolution providing that designation