DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

August 8, 2013

Column: We need 603 Reasons — from you

Jo-Anne MacKenzie
Derry News

---- — New Hampshire residents — present, past and wannabes — are passionate about their state.

We know that, but we need to know more.

The state motto, Live Free or Die, embodies that passion. In fact, one of the things people love about New Hampshire is that fierce sense of independence, the less government interference the better attitude.

Wear a helmet on a motorcycle? Your choice. Buckle up? You decide. Carry car insurance? Entirely up to you.

But there’s a whole lot more to the Granite State. You can shop and earn free of state taxes. You can enjoy the beach and the mountains in one day.

New Hampshire residents take justifiable pride in its first-in-the-nation presidential primary status. That brings nearly all White House contenders to tiny New Hampshire, ranked 45th in area and 41st or 42nd in population.

What other state’s residents can be almost guaranteed to meet the new president, without even trying very hard? Where else would the world’s eye turn on Election Day to find out what the dozen or fewer voters in Dixville Notch decide?

The state can claim Josiah Bartlett, Franklin Pierce, John Stark and Matthew Thornton among so many others.

In the world of literature, Robert Frost, J.D. Salinger, Horace Greeley and others all called New Hampshire home at one time.

Even in space, Christa McAuliffe and Alan Shepard Jr. put New Hampshire on the map.

Granite Staters changed the world with their inventions — Earl Tupper, Dean Kamen, James Wilson.

Comedy, music, sports — so many New Hampshire residents have left their mark in those worlds, too.

And then there are the less measurable attributes — a guaranteed change in seasons at least four times a year, close proximity to rural and urban lifestyles from almost every point, a sense of being rooted in history that matters and is remembered.

We’re collecting a list of 603 reasons why New Hampshire is like no other state. From that list, reporters for the Derry News and the New Hampshire edition of The Eagle-Tribune will write stories for the next year, examining how those reasons our readers put forth affect life in the Granite State, separate fond memory from fact, explore how safe some of the reasons are from the march of time and development.

But we need help. We’re more than halfway there, thanks in large part to our Derry News Facebook “friends.”

We need more.

Does some of the Northeast’s best fishing, fresh and saltwater, keep or drive you here? Do you thrill to the smell of fair food or the first taste of maple syrup in the spring? Do you track the reports from high atop Mount Washington? Are your family’s scrapbooks filled with images of generations visiting Clark’s Trading Post, Santa’s Village, the cog railway?

Without your input, we can’t move forward. Tell us why you love this state in an email to editor@derrynews.com, on our Facebook page, in a letter or when you see a reporter out and about.

We’re eager to dig deeper, so we’re counting on you.