Portsmouth, New Hampshire (August 30, 2017) -- The State of New Hampshire celebrates Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day on September 5th with the ringing (for three minutes) of church bells, school bells and the sounding of the shofar (traditional ram’s horn) at Portsmouth’s Temple Israel.
| The people of New Hampshire were ambassadors for the world when they hosted the Russian and Japanese delegations to the peace conference in Portsmouth that concluded with the signing of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty on September 5th. Here, the parade welcoming the diplomats to Portsmouth.
A salute at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard takes place at 3:47 pm, the exact moment the Treaty signing was announced by a Marine at the Shipyard on September 5, 1905. The PNSY whistle is the signal for church bells throughout the city to ring.
Among those scheduled to ring their bells this year are: North Church in Market Square, Middle Street Baptist Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Second Christian Congregational United Church of Christ, Christ Episcopal Church and First Congregational Church. South Church, which usually participates in the commemoration is unable to this year as the clapper in their church bell is broken.
In Market Square (near the historic marker in front of Piscataqua Savings Bank), citizens will gather at 3:30 pm to hear Mayor Jack Blalock read the 2017 Governor’s Proclamation of Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day. Established by unanimous vote by the NH Legislature in 2010, the official state observance recognizes that in 1905 “an uncommon commitment to peace became a common virtue” and encourages citizens statewide to commemorate four key ideas: 1) the Portsmouth Peace Treaty ended the Russo-Japanese War, with at that time, the largest land and sea battles ever fought; 2) that President Theodore Roosevelt chose Portsmouth as the site for the peace conference because of the Shipyard and the welcoming atmosphere of the Governor and people of NH; 3) 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; and 4) New Hampshire is the sole example of a state honoring its citizens for the active role they played in fostering successful international negotiations.
Elsewhere in the state, citizens gather a Portsmouth Peace Treaty Living Memorial cherry tree sites in Dublin, Hanover, Lancaster, Littleton, Manchester, Meredith and Milford to participate in the bell-ringing.