On September 5, 1906 – 110 years ago – Portsmouth celebrated the first Peace Treaty Day, with church bells ringing for a half hour at morning, noon and night. This year, the Seacoast (and beyond) celebrates Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day on September 5th with the ringing (for three minutes) of church bells, school bells.
The celebration of Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day is underscored by the 2016 Governor’s Proclamation of Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day, established by unanimous vote by the NH Legislature in 2010: that in 1905 “an uncommon commitment to peace became a common virtue” as "citizen diplomacy" -- the involvement of local people -- significantly contributed to the favorable outcome of the negotiations that earned President Roosevelt the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize; that New Hampshire is the sole example of a state honoring its citizens for the active role they played in fostering successful international negotiations, and that the residents of New Hampshire [should] observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities commemorating this important part of New Hampshire history.
Portsmouth Peace Treaty Living Memorial cherry tree sites in Dublin, Hanover, Lancaster, Meredith and Manchester also participate in the bell-ringing. In Concord, a Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day program in the Red River Theatre includes a short peace concert by Alex Cook, singer, songwriter and muralist; a screening of “The Peace Treaty of Portsmouth: A Spiritual Perspective and a reading of the Governor’s Proclamation and bell ringing at 3:47 pm.
In Portsmouth, bells ring for three minutes at 3:47 pm immediately following a memorial salute from the Shipyard – at the exact moment the Treaty was signed 111 years ago. The public is welcome to the ceremony at the Treaty historic marker outside the Piscataqua Savings Bank and Judge Calvin Page memorial (15 Pleasant Street) for the reading of the Governor’s Proclamation of Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day by Governor Maggie Hassan, followed by the bell-ringing.
The Market Square event will include representatives from the Portsmouth Public Schools, including some of the homestay exchange students who visited Nichinan, Japan (Portsmouth’s Sister City). In Nichinan, representatives from the Mayor’s Office and schoolchildren from Nichinan Gakuen Jr-Sr High School will also ring bells on September 5th to commemorate Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day.
For more information, visit PortsmouthPeaceTreaty.org