SALEM — The Massachusetts National Guard will return to its birthplace Saturday for a time-honored tradition.
The 382nd anniversary of the First Muster of the Guard will be commemorated in a three-part ceremony throughout the morning, involving local and state dignitaries and military leaders from the National Guard.
President Barack Obama, in 2013, signed legislation designating Salem as the birthplace of the Army National Guard. This weekend’s celebration recalls the initial muster of the East Regiment of the Colonial militia in Salem in the spring of 1637.
On Saturday, the ceremony begins at 9 a.m. at St. Peter’s Church, 24 St. Peter St. Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment, and Revolutionary War re-enactors from Danvers Alarm List and Glover’s Regiment will lay wreaths and fire a rifle salute at the gravesite of Capt. Stephen Abbott, who was the founder and first commander of the 2nd Corps Cadets. John Glover, the commander of the 14th Continental (Marblehead) Regiment, will also be honored.
The ceremony then moves to Armory Park on Essex Street at 9:45 a.m., where taps will be played in remembrance of the soldiers from the Essex Regiment, who were killed and injured during the battles at Lexington and Concord.
At 11:30 a.m., soldiers, airmen, family members, and dignitaries will gather for the main event on Salem Common to mark the founding in 1636 of the North, South, and East Regiments and the First Muster in 1637. The 101st Field Artillery Regiment will fire off cannons at approximately 11:35 a.m.
Maj. Gen. Gary W. Keefe, adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard, will be the presiding officer during the celebration. Gov. Charlie Baker will also attend the service.