Governor Hassan Proclaims Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day on September 5th
Celebrates Citizen Diplomacy with Bell-Ringing in Downtown Portsmouth
Portsmouth, New Hampshire (August 23, 2014) – Thanks to legislation passed in 2010, the state of New Hampshire commemorates Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day – the day the treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War was signed at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard – on September 5 and in perpetuity. By creating Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day the State Legislature made New Hampshire the only state in the nation to honor its citizens for the active role they played in fostering successful international negotiations.
Portsmouth celebrates Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day on September 5, 2014 with the annual bell-ringing at 3:47 pm– the moment the Treaty was signed in 1905 – and with Governor Maggie Hassan reading the Governor’s Proclamation. Portsmouth Mayor Robert Lister, Japanese Consul-General Tsutomu Himeno and Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum chairman Charles B. Doleac are also attending. The ceremony takes place at the City of Portsmouth Historic Marker on Pleasant Street opposite North Church in the middle of downtown Portsmouth.
The Historic Marker installed last year on Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day and the Judge Calvin Page Portsmouth Peace Treaty memorial on the wall nearby emphasize the role local citizens played, along with NH Governor John McLane, as the official hosts for the peace conference. Bells ring in other locations around the state, especially where cherry trees are planted as a living memorial to the Treaty. These sites include Wentworth By the Sea, Strawbery Banke Museum, the John Paul Jones House Museum and the public schools of Portsmouth.
“Next year is the 110th anniversary of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty,” noted Forum chairman Charles B. Doleac “Since the 100th anniversary in 2005, the story of the Treaty, the role of citizen diplomacy and the idea that ordinary people can make a difference have spread. Just two years ago we learned that the famous Washington DC cherry trees – one of the most recognized gifts of friendship one nation ever gave to another – was a ‘thank you’ gift from Japan to the US for our assistance during the Russo-Japanese War. Theodore Roosevelt’s orchestration of the peace conference here in Portsmouth was a major part of that assistance. By planting cherry trees descended from those DC trees around New Hampshire and by ringing bells on the anniversary of the Treaty signing, we are creating a Portsmouth Peace Treaty Living Memorial.”
The September 5, 2014 bell-ringing commemorating the Treaty signing starts with a US Navy memorial salute at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard followed by a long blast on the Shipyard whistle at 3:47 pm. That is the signal for the bells throughout the Seacoast to ring. The bell-ringing is organized by the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum with local churches and schools who participate in the bell-ringing each year. The list includes:
- First Congregational Church of Eliot (1361 State Road)
- First Methodist Church of Portsmouth (129 Miller Avenue)
- Unitarian Universalist Church (South Church, 292 State St)
- Middle Street Baptist Church, (18 Court Street)
- North Congregational Church (Market Square)
- St. John’s Episcopal Church (101 Chapel Street)
- Christ Episcopal Church (1035 Lafayette Road)
- Temple Israel (200 State Street) will blow the shofar, the traditional ram’s horn.
- Portsmouth Public Schools will ring bells and the Sister City of Nichinan, Japan will do the same.
In addition to these commemorations, the Portsmouth Peace Treaty is commemorated by:
- “An Uncommon Commitment to Peace: Portsmouth Peace Treaty 1905”Exhibit -- open free from 3-5 pm at the John Paul Jones House Museum. Created for the 100th anniversary of the Treaty in 2005 this exhibit is based on extensive local research (recognized by the Library of Congress) and tells the story of how local people made a difference in creating the atmosphere for peace that helped resolve the stalemate between the Russian and Japanese negotiators and helped President Theodore Roosevelt win the Nobel Peace Prize. The Treaty exhibit, created by the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum through the Japan-America Society of NH, is displayed in the John Paul Jones House Museum of the Portsmouth Historical Society at 43 Middle Street in downtown Portsmouth. The museum is open 7 days a week through October 31, 2014 and on weekends through November 11, 2013, 11 am to 5 pm
- Free maps for the self-guided walking tour of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail that links iconic sites of the Treaty summer, are also available at the John Paul Jones Museum, at the Discover Portsmouth Center and at the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce information centers on Market Street and in Market Square.
The commemoration of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty is supported by the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum through the Japan-America Society of NH. To learn more about the Treaty, scheduling an exhibit, NH Humanities Council lecture or other programs, visit www.PortsmouthPeaceTreaty.com or contact Charles Doleac, firstname.lastname@example.org, 603-436-4010.