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Golden Rule sails for peace to Burlington: ‘If we do nothing, we go nowhere’

Michaele Niehaus, The Hawk Eye, 21 Oct 22,

A group of about 20 southeast Iowa residents and city officials gathered Thursday near the Port of Burlington to welcome the Golden Rule and its crew, as well as recognize the importance of activism and kindness.

The refurbished, 64-year-old, 34-foot wooden sailboat has been navigating the shallowing waters of the Upper Mississippi River for the past month to spread a message of peaceful activism. It is carrying on its mission of worldwide nuclear disarmament that began in 1958, when a group of Quakers set sail from Hawaii to the Marshall Islands in protest of the nuclear weapons testing that was taking place there.

The sailboat never made it there, and the crew were arrested while en route.

Their mission and arrests spurred an attempt to sail a 50-foot boat there by Earle Reynolds, a doctor who was investigating the effects of ionizing material on the children of Hiroshima.

“So (Reynolds and his family) sailed down there and this guy got arrested. So between the two trials, his trial and the Golden Rule trial, there was enough national press to reach the president’s attention, and in the year that his family sailed, the president stopped testing under the provision that the USSR would stop testing. And so eventually things carried on and it ended up with John F. Kennedy signing the test ban treaty,” first mate Stephen Buck told The Hawk Eye from inside the cabin while holding a copy of Reynolds’ book, “The Forbidden Voyage.”

While the trials received much attention, the Golden Rule itself did not. It wasn’t until it sunk in Northern California’s Humbolt Bay in 2010 that its mission was resumed by Veterans for Peace, who were instrumental in the five-year effort to refurbish the ketch.

“We’re carrying on the original mission, which was an urgent need to stop bomb testing in the Pacific, above ground, in the air. And they were sending significant pollution of radioactive material to people who populated the Pacific, poisoning the land, poisoning the food, and those people are still here,” Buck said………………………………………………………….

Captain Kiko Johnston-Kitazawa noted the progress made on lessening the number of nuclear weapons and nuclear testing, but said the problem has not gone away.

“The last few years, all the bigger countries are bragging about, oh, we’ve got a bigger, more destructive (weapons) and we’re going to use it, so it’s time to pay attention again,” he said, noting that progress can be made through activism, such as with the Golden Rule, as well as on an individual level. “If we all continuously try to be the kind of people who treat every other person kindly, that grows into communities and countries likewise, and that is how you eliminate the root causes of war, so both are important.”…………………………………………………………..

The Golden Rule’s progress can be followed by visiting, and those wishing to join its crew for a day or longer can apply by visiting


October 21, 2022 - Posted by | USA, weapons and war

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