While the news these days is filled with stories of war, particularly nuclear saber-rattling out of Russia, more people are intent on spreading hope over fear.

Photo Credit: Golden Rule & Keith B. via Canva
Photo Credit: Golden Rule & Keith B. via Canva

Such as it is with the storied Golden Rule anti-nuclear sailboat. The ship will arrive in Dubuque on October 9, kicking off a series of local events to raise awareness about the growing danger of nuclear war. The intent is to build support for getting rid of atomic weapons.

The 34-foot wooden ketch is sailing on a 15-month voyage around the "Great Loop" of the central, southern, and eastern United States, making 100 ports of call. Golden Rule is a national project of Veterans For Peace, which owns the boat.

Photo Credit: Keith B. via Canva
Photo Credit: Keith B. via Canva

Between 1946 and 1958, the Marshall Islands region was the site of testing nuclear weapons equivalent to the explosive power of 1.6 Hiroshima bombs every day for 12 years. 

Dubuque is home to more than 800 Marshall Islanders, so Golden Rule's visit will include the largest population of Marshallese anywhere on the "Great Loop."

Photo Credit: Keith B. & Google Maps via Canva
Photo Credit: Keith B. & Google Maps via Canva

Why is this significant? The Golden Rule is the same sailing ship that, in 1958, attempted to sail from Hawai'i to the nuclear testing area in the Marshall Islands. However, Golden Rule's voyage was interrupted by the US Coast Guard. Still, several weeks of front-page news about the ship, its voyage, and the public outrage about the potential environmental damage and public health risks ultimately led to the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. 

But sadly, even today, the Marshall Islands are unfit for growing food or fishing because of the radioactive damage.

If you would like to learn more about nuclear issues facing our world today and how you can challenge and stop the possibility of nuclear war, you are invited to see this historic boat and welcome its arrival in Dubuque.

Scheduled activities for the public:

Sunday, October 9

3:00 pm:  Dubuque Sailing Club flotilla escorts Golden Rule from Lock and Dam #11 to Ice Harbor. 

4:00 pm:  Golden Rule docks in Ice Harbor to a traditional Marshallese welcome in the plaza between the River Museum and the Ice Harbor.  Open Boat until 7 pm (Visit the boat, meet the crew, hear the Golden Rule story)

Monday, October 10 (Indigenous Peoples Day)

9 am to 2 pm:  Open Boat (Visit the boat, meet the crew, hear the Golden Rule story) with children’s activities at the ship from 10 to noon.

2 pm:  Official Program in the plaza between the River Museum and the Ice Harbor

  • Welcome from Mayor Brad Cavanaugh 
  • Greetings from Marshallese leaders
  • Land acknowledgment 
  • Acknowledgment of Marshallese leaders, Quaker representatives, Dubuque Sailing Club members, Veterans for Peace representatives, National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium leadership, Golden Rule crew, and public officials
  • Marshallese music and dance program 1
  • The Golden Rule Story (Helen Jaccard) 
  • Testimony by Marshallese leaders and nuclear test survivors
  • Marshallese music and dance program 2 
  • Solemn remembrance of the original Golden Rule crew members: Albert Bigelow, George Willoughby, William Huntington, David Gale, Jim Peck, and Orion Sherwood (Dubuque Quakers and Sally Willowbee –daughter of George Willoughby)

4:30 pm to 7 pm: Celebration- food and music!

7 to 9 pm: National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium theater hosts Golden Rule’s Captain Kiko Johnston-Kitazawa, sharing his “Tales of the Golden Rule”.

Tuesday, October 11

Before 9:00 am:  Golden Rule departs Dubuque.

Groups can schedule an educational presentation by contacting the Golden Rule Project Manager, Helen Jaccard, at vfpgoldenruleproject@gmail.com or 206-992-6364. 


Dubuque's Riverview Park Provides Spectacular Views & Affordable Camping

Life along the Mississippi River remains as Twain described it 139 years ago. While the river and the towns lining its bank may be tamer today than in Twain's time, there remains a calming allure to resting on the riverbank and watching it flow. 

Dubuque's City-owned and operated 20-acre Miller Riverview Park and Campground is one of the best places to relax and enjoy the mighty Mississippi. 

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