On December 13th, 1636, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony ordered that the Colony’s militia to be organized into three regiments: the North, South, and East Regiment. All males between the ages of 16 and 60 from that day forward were required to bear arms and participate in the community’s defense. In response to the growing threat of the Pequot Indians, the militia prepared with weekly drills and guard details. On an unspecified date in 1637, the East Regiment officially mustered for the first time on the Salem Common to mobilize in its defense. This event marked the birth of the modern day National Guard. On May 4th, 2002, the monument was dedicated to honor its historical significance.
In January of 2013, President Barack Obama signed legislation sponsored by Massachusetts Congressman John Tierney, which officially designated Salem as the birthplace of the National Guard. Each year, the city honors the First Muster with a ceremony conducted by service members, veterans, and community supporters.