New Hampshire celebrates Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day on September 5th -- the anniversary of the signing of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty -- thanks to legislation passed unanimously in 2010.
In his Proclamation of Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day, Governor John Lynch said, “The intent of Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day is to commemorate President Theodore Roosevelt’s designation of New Hampshire as the host for the peace conference that ended the Russo-Japanese War, the largest modern land and sea war the world had seen. President Roosevelt never came to Portsmouth, instead relying upon the US Assistant Secretary of State, the US Navy and the Governor and citizens of New Hampshire to facilitate the 30 days of formal and informal negotiations between the Japanese and Russian diplomats in and around Portsmouth. In Portsmouth 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. The bill marking Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day throughout New Hampshire is the sole example of a state honoring its citizens for the active role they played in fostering successful international negotiations.”
The Governor’s Proclamation calls on the citizens of New Hampshire to “observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.” On the Seacoast, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, religious centers, schools, businesses and other organizations will join in the annual tradition of commemorations timed to coincide with the exact moment of the Treaty signing – 3:47 pm on September 5.
The Navy will conduct its annual salute to the Treaty on the mall at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and then blow its main whistle, which is the signal for other commemorations to start. The Governor’s Proclamation will be read aloud and representatives from the Portsmouth School Department will ring bells in Market Square. Additional bell-ringing is scheduled to include North Congregational Church,, Unitarian-Universalist (South) Church Portsmouth, St. John’s Episcopal Church, South Meeting House (PPMtv), First United Methodist Church Portsmouth, , Immaculate Conception Church Portsmouth, Middle Street Baptist Church, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Christ Episcopal Church Portsmouth, Second Christian Congregational United Church of Christ Kittery, First Baptist Church Kittery First Congregational Church Eliot ME and Eliot United Methodist Church. A member of the Temple Israel congregation will blow the shofar, the traditional ram’s horn; and Green Acre Bahai School will raise the replica Sarah Farmer peace flag. For details on the Portsmouth church bells, click here.
“By commemorating Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day participants celebrate the role of citizen diplomacy in resolving conflict that was demonstrated here in Portsmouth in 1905 and can make a difference wherever citizens choose to get involved,” said Charles B. Doleac, president of the Japan-America Society of NH and recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun gold rays with rosette for his efforts to keep the history of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty alive."