SALEM — Salem Common will be lined with horses, cannons and soldiers tomorrow for the 376th anniversary of the country’s First Muster.
This will be the first commemoration of the 1637 muster of the East Regiment on Salem Common since President Barack Obama designated Salem as the birthplace of the National Guard earlier this year. Congressman John Tierney, who sponsored the legislation, is one of the featured speakers tomorrow.
The event will go off as usual with one change — the scheduled flyover by the Massachusetts Air National Guard has been canceled, a victim of budget sequestration in Washington, D.C.
The ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. at St. Peter’s Church on St. Peter Street. Members of Massachusetts National Guard regiments, which in recent years were deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, along with Revolutionary War re-enactors from the Danvers Alarm List, will fire a rifle salute and lay a wreath at the grave of Capt. Stephen Abbott, founder and first commander of the Second Corps of Cadets.
At 10:30 a.m., the scene will switch to Armory Park, next to the Salem Visitor Center, with a commemoration of the American Revolution and a remembrance of local soldiers killed at Lexington and Concord.
More than 150 soldiers from Massachusetts National Guard regiments that trace their roots to the country’s first militias will march to Salem Common carrying their regimental colors. The National Lancers, a volunteer militia cavalry with a storied history, will take part in the short parade and ceremonies.
The day’s main event on Salem Common is scheduled for around 11:30 a.m.
In addition to Tierney, speakers include Mayor Kim Driscoll and Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, the adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard. In keeping with tradition, Rice will be honored with a 13-gun howitzer salute.
The muster is sponsored by the Second Corps Cadets Veterans Association, the Salem Veterans Council and the Massachusetts National Guard.
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.