“I can’t say enough about Lenny,” Lovely said. “He would have been very proud to be here today.”
After O’Leary’s 2007 resolution was passed, state Rep. John Keenan sponsored a state-level bill declaring the same, which Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law in August 2010.
Tierney then took the issue to Capitol Hill, to gain federal recognition. Obama signed the bill into law on Jan. 10.
The National Guard is the oldest component of America’s military; its members have served in every major conflict in U.S. history. Today, the Guard’s “citizen soldiers” serve not only in conflict zones, but domestically, including natural disaster relief efforts.
This weekend, 6,000 National Guard soldiers from across the United States will support President Barack Obama’s inauguration, from traffic control and crowd management to emergency services.
Yesterday, Tierney said the nation “leans heavily” on the National Guard, both for national defense and service.
“It’s not just that the National Guard originated here in Salem, it’s the work they continue to do,” Tierney said.
“What a lineage we have, what an honor to be here,” said Maj. Gen. L. Scott “Catfish” Rice, adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard. “What a great meeting of all the history in this place.”
Last April, hundreds of troops gathered on the common for a muster marking the Guard’s 375th anniversary.
This year’s muster is planned for April 6.
Not much will change about the muster, a longtime tradition, with this month’s federal designation, Rice said.
However, participants will “stand a little straighter, a little taller” this year, he said, smiling.
Bethany Bray can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.