Update on the Golden Rule Voyage

In September 2022, Duluth was the kickoff of an extraordinary voyage for peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons. Three members the Golden Rule crew came to Duluth to hold the first public events in an 11,000 mile journey to raise awareness of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The trip began in Minneapolis and ended on September 17, 2023 in Chicago.

The Golden Rule is a 34 foot sailboat which, in 1958, attempted to sail to the South Pacific to oppose U.S. nuclear weapons testing. The voyage was unsuccessful (the crew members were arrested in Hawaii) but it helped create pressure for future nuclear testing and disarmament treaties. The boat was restored by members of Veterans For Peace in California and, since 2015, has been sailing for peace and to promote abolition of nuclear weapons.

During the last year the Golden Rule visited over 50 cities along the Mississippi, Gulf and East coasts, including a stop in Havana, Cuba. Along the way there were hundreds of public events. New York was a highlight when the boat and crew made an uninvited “guest appearance” at the Navy’s “Fleet Week Parade of Ships.” The Golden Rule’s peace sign sails were a stark contrast to the Navy’s war ships and weapons of mass destruction.

Mexico hosted a meeting with representatives of 13 countries at the United Nations. The representative for South Africa (the only country to have voluntarily eliminated its nuclear weapons) told the Veterans for Peace delegation, “It is a breath of fresh air to be talking with citizen activists. I was struck by the images of you sailing by the warships. It really is David and Goliath. We are doing diplomatic work but you are the ones doing the heavy lifting…We thank you very much.”

After visits to New England they sailed up the Hudson River, through the Erie Canal and into the Great Lakes. Beginning with Toronto, Canada, they visited 18 ports in Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

The words Albert Bigelow, the original Golden Rule captain, inspired the crews and should motivate us today. “I am going because it is time to do something about peace, not just talk about peace…I am going because, like all men, in my heart I know that all nuclear explosions are monstrous, evil, unworthy of human beings…I am going because war is no longer a feudal jousting match; it is an unthinkable catastrophe for all men…I am going because it is now the little children …who are the front-line troops…I am going in the hope of helping change the hearts and minds of men in government….quit this waste, this arms race…stop competing for evil, compete for good.”

To help support this good change go to www.vfpgoldenruleproject.org.