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64 years later, the Golden Rule takes to the water again to challenge nuclear arms

A crew will sail down the Mississippi, up the East Coast and through the Great Lakes to back the prohibition of nuclear weapons.  

By Randy Furst Star Tribune, SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 ,

In the spring of 1958, four pacifists including David Gale,who grew up in Carver, Minn., set sail from California to the Marshall Islands to protest nuclear tests conducted there by the United States. Their 34-foot boat was named the Golden Rule.

Gale, then 25, became gravely ill and the boat developed mechanical problems, and a huge storm on the Pacific Ocean forced the crew to turn back. A second trip was launched, this time with another pacifist replacing Gale. But the crew was arrested by the U.S. Coast Guard near Honolulu and went to jail.

On Sunday, the newly refurbished Golden Rule will set sail again to protest nuclear weapons, this time setting out from St. Paul down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. It’s the start of a 15-month, 11,000-mile journey sponsored by Veterans for Peace that will eventually take the crew up the Eastern Seaboard, through the Great Lakes and back to the Gulf of Mexico, with stops in 100 towns and cities.


“We want to put pressure on the United States to sign the United Nations treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons,” said Helen Jaccard, the trip’s project manager.

Kiko Johnston-Kitazawa of Hawaii will captain the boat for the first five months, taking it as far as Jacksonville, Fla. He was working last week on some rigging lines at the St. Croix Marina in Hudson, Wis. “I’ve been interested in peace work and nuclear disarmament since I was 15,” he said.

Mike McDonald, past president of the Twin Cities chapter of Veterans for Peace, which is sponsoring Golden Rule events in the metro area, will be on the boat for the first leg of the trip. “If somebody starts a nuclear war, it isn’t going to be good for anybody,” he said.

The 1958 voyage of the Golden Rule to the Marshall Islands was a national news story. During the previous 12 years, the U.S. had dropped 67 nuclear bombs at Bikini and Enewetak atolls, equaling the energy yield of 7,000 Hiroshima bombs, according to Scientific American.

Gale died in 2016 at 83, but his family remains enthusiastic that the Golden Rule is still making a splash — and carrying the anti-nuclear message.

“I’m thrilled it is being renewed,” said his widow, Margaret Gale of Princeton, Ill., also a committed pacifist. “I still believe in what that boat stands for.”

“This is who he was,” said Andy Gale of San Diego, one of David’s sons. “He was a pacifist and felt strongly against war his whole life………………………………………………………………………………….

There will be a Golden Rule Project program at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Crosby Farm Regional Park in St. Paul, with a potluck and an opportunity to meet the crew before the boat departs.  https://www.startribune.com/sixty-four-years-later-the-golden-rule-takes-to-the-water-again-to-challenge-nuclear-arms/600209583/

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September 22, 2022 - Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA, weapons and war

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