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Official Recognition Of Salem, Massachusetts, As The Birthplace Of The National Guard Of The United States

Rep. Todd R. Platts

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Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 1339) to amend title 32, United States Code, the body of laws of the United States dealing with the National Guard, to recognize the City of Salem, Massachusetts, as the Birthplace of the National Guard of the United States, as amended.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The text of the bill is as follows:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

(a) Findings.--Congress makes the following findings: (1) In 1629, Captain John Endicott organized the first militia in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in Salem. (2) The colonists had adopted the English militia system, which required all males between the ages of 16 and 60 to possess arms and participate in the defense of the community. (3) In 1636, the Massachusetts General Court ordered the organization of three militia regiments, designated as the North, South, and East regiments. (4) These regiments drilled once a week and provided guard details each evening to sound the alarm in case of attack. (5) The East Regiment, the predecessor of the 101st Engineer Battalion, assembled as a regiment for the first time in 1637 on the Salem Common, marking the beginning of the Massachusetts National Guard and the National Guard of the United States. (6) Since 1785, Salem's own Second Corps of Cadets (101st and 102nd Field Artillery) has celebrated the anniversary of that first muster. (7) As the policy contained in section 102 of title 32, United States Code, clearly expresses, the National Guard continues its historic mission of providing units for the first line defense of the United States and current missions throughout the world. (8) The designation of the City of Salem, Massachusetts, as the Birthplace of the National Guard of the United States will contribute positively to tourism and economic development in the city, create jobs, and instill pride in both the local and State communities. (b) Designation of Salem, Massachusetts, as National Guard Birthplace.--In light of the findings made in subsection (a), the City of Salem, Massachusetts, is hereby designated as the Birthplace of the National Guard of the United States. (c) Responsibilities.-- (1) Military ceremonial support.--The Chief of the National Guard Bureau, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Air Force, the Council of Governors, and the Adjutant General of the State of Massachusetts, shall provide military ceremonial support at the dedication of any monument, plaque, or other form of official recognition placed in Salem, Massachusetts, celebrating the designation of Salem, Massachusetts, as the Birthplace of the National Guard of the United States. (2) Funding source.--Federal funds may not be used to design, procure, prepare, install, or maintain any monument, plaque, or other form of official recognition placed in Salem, Massachusetts, celebrating the designation of Salem, Massachusetts, as the Birthplace of the National Guard of the United States, but the Adjutant General of the State of Massachusetts may accept and expend contributions of non- Federal funds for this purpose.

Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Platts) and the gentlewoman from Massachusetts (Ms. Tsongas) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania.

Rep. Todd R. Platts

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Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and insert extraneous material on the bill under consideration.

Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Pennsylvania?

There was no objection.

Rep. Todd R. Platts

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 1339, recognizing the city of Salem, Massachusetts, as the Birthplace of the National Guard of the United States. I would like to thank my colleague from Massachusetts, the Honorable John Tierney, for bringing this measure before the House, and I'm honored to be a cosponsor of this legislation with him.

It was in 1629 that Captain John Endicott organized the first militia in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in Salem and that all males between the ages of 16 and 60 participated in the defense of that community. Each week, this first regiment diligently practiced drill and provided guard detail to protect the colony throughout each night. This militia, and those that followed, would come to play a significant role in the Revolutionary War and all conflicts that have followed.

Today, the National Guard continues its proud mission of providing units for the first line in defense of our great Nation at home and throughout the world. By designating the City of Salem, Massachusetts, as the Birthplace of the National Guard of the United States, we hope to see positive tourism and economic developments in the city, a city already recognized throughout the world as one of immense historical significance.

But most importantly, Mr. Speaker, this resolution will instill pride in both the local and State communities in their rich patriotic heritage and properly recognizes the critically important role that the National Guard has played in defense of our Nation and its citizens since the earliest days of our Nation.

As the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States, the services our National Guard has provided our country are innumerable and immense. I'm honored to be here today to be part of the history in the formal recognition of this, the National Guard's birthplace. I encourage my colleagues to join me in support of this bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Niki Tsongas

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to offer my support for H.R. 1339, recognizing the great city of Salem, Massachusetts, as the Birthplace of the National Guard of the United States. I'd like to thank my colleague from Massachusetts (Mr. Tierney) for bringing this important measure, of which I am an original cosponsor, before the House.

The National Guard has provided over 370 years of dedicated service to our country. Beginning in 1629, when the first militia was organized in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in Salem by Captain John Endicott, the National Guard has played a key role in protecting the Nation and responding to contingencies around the globe. The National Guard is the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States.

The patriots who founded our Nation followed English military tradition and organized their able-bodied male citizens into militias. All males between the ages of 16 and 60 were expected to maintain arms and participate in the defense of the community. The colonial militias protected their countrymen from foreign invaders and helped to win the Revolutionary War. Following the war, our Forefathers empowered Congress to ``provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia.'' However, recognizing the militia's State role, the Founding Fathers reserved the appointment of officers and training of the militia to the States. Today's National Guard still remains a dual State-Federal force.

The service of our Guard is just as vital today as it was in the days of our Forefathers. The Guard deployed more than 50,000 troops in support of the gulf States following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Tens of thousands of Guard members have served in harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, the National Guard continues its historic dual mission, responding to State and local emergencies while ably and courageously serving our Nation overseas in times of war alongside their Active Duty and Reserve counterparts.

So I am proud to stand here today to recognize Salem, Massachusetts, as a city of great historical significance in the birthplace of our National Guard. I urge my colleagues to stand with me in support of this resolution.

I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Todd R. Platts

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I continue to reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Niki Tsongas

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Mr. Speaker, at this time, I yield as much time as he may consume to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Tierney), the author of the underlying legislation.

Rep. John F. Tierney

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I thank my colleague from Massachusetts for yielding, as well as for taking the time to help manage this bill and for being an original cosponsor; and I thank my colleague from Pennsylvania, as well, for cosponsoring this bill and for his kind words in discussion of what it is and how meaningful it is not just to Salem, Massachusetts, but to the country as well.

I rise in support of this bill to officially recognize Salem, Massachusetts, as the Birthplace of the National Guard. Salem was the site where our country's first military regiment mustered. This militia was the foundation of what would eventually become the National Guard.

Last year, I offered a version of this legislation as an amendment to the Defense authorization bill, and it was approved by a voice vote. Unfortunately, my amendment was not included as part of the final conference report. So for the past several months, we've been working together to bring this bill to the floor.

Next month is the 375th anniversary of that first muster on Salem Common, and it's being commemorated; so I'm particularly pleased that the House is considering this bill at this time. I want to be clear: consideration of this bill today is made possible because of bipartisan support; and just like my two colleagues here, there are a number of people, over 116 cosponsors from both parties, who participated in bringing this bill. I want to thank the majority leader, as well as the leadership on both sides, for his courtesy given to the staff as well as to me. I also want to thank the House Armed Services Committee chairman, Buck McKeon, as well as the ranking member, Adam Smith, and their staffs; and I want to note the 116 colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, all the Democrats on the Armed Service Committee and a substantial number of Republicans on that committee for their support.

This kind of consideration is just the way this House should behave and should act, and I'm glad that we were able to do it on this bill.

So today is an important day for the City of Salem and for the National Guard and for local residents like Larry Conway and many others who have been advocating for this designation for years. Designating Salem as the Birthplace of the National Guard will pay tribute to those who first organized to defend our country almost 375 years ago, and it will also honor those men and women who continue to serve in the National Guard today.

We are working closely with our Senate counterparts to ensure that that Chamber acts quickly in time for the 375th anniversary next month. I won't recount all of the details my colleagues here were so kind to enumerate, but I do note that the bill itself sets forth all the important benchmarks and the progress that we've made.

Again, I want to thank my colleagues, and I urge all the colleagues to support this bipartisan bill.

Rep. Todd R. Platts

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I continue to reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Niki Tsongas

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Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

Rep. Todd R. Platts

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to add, again, my words of thanks and commendation to the gentleman from Massachusetts for sponsoring this resolution. Because, as was reflected, in honoring the birthplace of the National Guard, we honor all who have served throughout our Nation's history.

During my statehouse days, as well as now in Congress, I've had the remarkable privilege to interact with both my Air and Army National Guard in Pennsylvania, as well as National Guard troops from around the country in my many visits to Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere. These are remarkable, remarkable men and women, citizen soldiers through and through, who, when called upon, respond to the call of their Nation and their fellow citizens, serve us so courageously.

So, again, I'm honored to be a sponsor of this resolution, and I commend the gentleman for introducing it.

I urge a ``yes'' vote in support of its passage.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Platts) that the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 1339, as amended.

The question was taken.

In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.

Rep. Niki Tsongas

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Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.

The yeas and nays were ordered.

Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further proceedings on this question will be postponed.