The National Guard that we know today came into existence with a direct declaration on Dec. 13, 1636, when the Massachusetts General Court in Salem established that all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 60 were required to join the militia. That being said, the National Guard has proudly existed for 376 years!
Early settlement leaders decided that a proactive and ready state of mind must be kept by all citizens, particularly those training in military tactics. A civic duty, so to speak, in small villages meant that a price must be paid for the freedoms that could potentially be enjoyed, were the colony to ultimately succeed. That price meant taking responsibility for defending the settlements of the Massachusetts colony.
That same conviction and mindset still resides in the citizen-Soldiers who serve in today’s Army National Guard. The National Guard has grown into an integrated military force, working alongside its Active Duty counterparts, yet it still retains the core characteristics that came into being on December 13, 1636. The National Guard is a community cornerstone rooted in the “rule of law across the land”. It enabled the early colonial settlers to meet the challenges of an uncertain world then as it does now.
Every December 13th, all National Guard Units across the United States hold some sort of special celebration to commemorate our superb service, deep history, tradition and time-honored values as well as remember those we have lost. Mark your calendars! DECEMBER 13th!!! I am sure that you will be able to find a National Guard Celebration taking place near you that you should attend. Be proud of your service to the oldest branch of military service in our country!