Happy Birthday, Derry!

July 18 is the anniversary of Derry's founding. It has been 180 years since the people of our fair community established their own government, incorporating on July 18, 1827. John Quincy Adams was president of the United States at the time. Benjamin Pierce, the father of future president Franklin Pierce, was governor of New Hampshire.

Derry broke away from Londonderry after a nearly 90-year dispute over ... well, who remembers now. Town Historian Richard Holmes knows that things became "unpleasant" toward the end. As part of the town's celebration of the anniversary, Holmes will tell the story of Derry's founding in a completely unbiased manner.

"I'll do my part to emphasize that Londonderry was wrong and Derry was right," Holmes joked with reporter Shelley J. Thompson.

Derry's anniversary observance, including Holmes' tales of Londonderry's iniquity, will be held at the First Parish Church, which appropriately was the site of the first Town Meeting.

The evening's events will include a bagpipe march in recognition of the fact that the region's first settlers came from Scotland by way of Ireland. There will be tributes to famous and favorites sons astronaut Alan Shepard and poet Robert Frost, music and other entertainment. Records of the first Town Meeting will be available for review | residents will have the chance to see own town business got done 180 years ago. John Moody, who recently served as interim town administrator, will serve as "Town Crier" calling the meeting to order and introducing Gov. John Lynch.

There will also be a performance of the "Beaver Lake March," a tune Holmes estimates hasn't been heard in 70 years.

The milestone is worth celebrating and volunteers have put together an interesting evening of entertainment and history. Many thanks to those who organized the anniversary celebration.

History isn't just the distant past. We're writing tomorrow's history today. As Moody noted, the anniversary celebration offers residents a chance to look at the community's past while maintaining a focus on its future. We'll be judged by Derry's future citizens on the success or failure of our efforts.

Anniversary celebrations like these serve as important reminders of our place in history and our duty to tomorrow.

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