I didn't go to a parade or ceremony today, either. I wasn't relaxing with my family; I worked.
But I want to thank those near and dear to me for the sacrifice and the commitment they have made in defense of this country. Since my first boy to join up joined the National Guard, I'll start there.
The Guard "began" in 1636, when English colonists and Native Americans began to disagree. When war between them broke out, the King of England ordered the formation of colonial militias. You were taught about these militias when you learned about the American Revolution. The Minutemen, ready to defend their lands at a minute's notice, were those same militias. Those militias fought for the establishment of this country and one foreigner who fought with them, the Marquis de Lafayette, indirectly named the National Guard. (I just learned this tonight!) He returned to France, and led the militia of Paris during the French Revolution, naming them the Garde National. When he visited the United States near the end of his life, a New York militia company renamed themselves the National Guard, in his honor. By 1916, all but one state had adopted the name National Guard for its militia units. (This information is from www.ng.mil, at the About the Guard tab)
The official date of the establishment of the National Guard, its birthday, is Dec. 13, 1636.
Matthew couldn't bring himself to join the National Guard, so he enlisted in the regular Army. The Army began in 1747 as "His Majesty’s first Independent Company of American Rangers." They served England, but were Americans. The Army fought through the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, and was officially established as the Continental Army on June 14, 1775.
The irony is that he will leave the Army this summer. He has already enlisted in...the National Guard.
Ethan joined the Guard in the winter of 2009. He is gone this weekend, as I've mentioned, learning to be a better medic.
I suppose I should thank my dad, too. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in the 1950s. I think they fought dinosaurs. Uphill. In the snow. Both ways. The Marine Corps thinks of themselves as the oldest American armed force. The Corps was officially formed on November 10, 1775. Check those dates. I think some of the Marines got hit in the head by one of those dinosaurs!
I should play the Marine Corps hymn, but, Papa, I like this much better...and it makes for a better ending to this blog!