History Marches On

They won’t be running to the front lines should the call for troops go out, though they are a formally chartered militia unit. They’ll leave that for the younger set. Their ranks have thinned through the years as their members have aged, but they are always on the lookout for new talent.

“Do you look good in 18th-century gear?”

“Can you march in step?”

“Can you play the fife? Even better.”

Formed in time to celebrate the country’s bicentennial in 1976, still going strong for Hingham’s 350th anniversary celebration in 1985, the Hingham Militia marches on today in the area’s Memorial Day parades, Veterans Day ceremonies, and even in Scituate’s famous St. Patrick’s Day parade. Nearly a dozen men turn out for each event. They used to make beautiful Revolutionary War-style music; today, they’re lucky to muster up a drummer. Yet, they still march.

Why, you ask? There’s heritage. Hingham’s military history goes back to its “trayned bande” of the 1630s. But there’s one more important reason, says Rick Shaner, a member from the early days of the unit: “It’s a way to honor veterans,” he said, “and to remind people what it all costs.” —John Galluzzo

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