Dec. 13 is the birthday of the National Guard. On this date in 1636, the first militia regiments in North America organized in Massachusetts. Based upon an order of the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s General Court, the colony’s militia was organized into three permanent regiments to defend the colony better. Today, the descendants of these first regiments – the 181st infantry, the 182nd infantry, the101st Field Artillery, and 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard – share the distinction of being the oldest units in the U.S. military. Dec. 13, 1636, thus marks the beginning of the organized militia, and the birth of the National Guard’s oldest organized units is symbolic of the founding of all the state, territory and District of Columbia militias that collectively make up today’s National Guard.

Even though it’s not a federal holiday, the birthday of the U.S. National Guard is an important event to note. The National Guard is the oldest military organization in America. Its members serve during times of war and emergency. Take time to honor those who have protected our country for centuries.