The 377th Birthday of the National Guard
The National Guard celebrates its 377th birthday today. The National Guard traces its history back to a direct declaration of the Massachusetts Bay Colony on December 13, 1636. This declaration formed a group of Citizen-Soldiers, requiring all physically able men between 16 and 60 to serve in the militia whenever they were needed.
Other colonies would follow in establishing their own defense forces. Though Pennsylvania’s Citizen-Soldier defense force would not form for over another hundred years, its history is no less special. In 1747, Benjamin Franklin would lead others Philadelphians in the creation of the “Associators.” The idea caught on in neighboring areas within Pennsylvania and was soon replicated throughout the Commonwealth. From its founding in 1747, through the Revolution, to today’s commitment in Afghanistan, the Pennsylvania National Guard has upheld its motto, “Civilian in peace. Soldier in war.”
Today, Pennsylvania has the third largest National Guard in the nation. While the wars have changed, the commitment of these Citizen-Soldiers to answer the call of duty, in their own community, or on the other side of the world, has remained constant. Join me today in wishing the National Guard a “happy birthday!” I am truly honored to represent a state with such a rich tradition and dedication to its own community and to national service.