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Salem Claims National Guard: Salem, Mass., is now the birthplace of more than just witch trials. Gov. Deval Patrick (D) has signed into law HB1145, a bill that recognizes the town as the "birthplace of the National Guard." "We are the nation’s first, the Massachusetts National Guard,” said Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Carter, the state's adjutant general, during last week's signing ceremony with Patrick in the Salem city hall. He added, "It is an honor as well as one of the mightiest privileges to participate in this momentous occasion recognizing this wonderful city, where it all began." The Guard traces its roots back to the creation of the North, South, and East Regiments by the Massachusetts Bay General Court on December 13, 1636. Members of the East Regiment held their first muster on Salem Common in April 1637—more than half a century before the famed witch trials. (NGB release)