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A Beautiful Day Welcoming the Peace Boat

The Golden Rule anti-nuclear sailboat visited Dubuque, Oct. 9 as part of a series of local events to raise awareness about the danger of nuclear war and to build support for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Embarking on a 15-month voyage around the “great loop” of central, southern, and eastern United States, this 34-foot wooden ketch will make 100 ports-of-call.

The boat making this voyage is the same boat that sailed in nuclear protest from Hawaii to the Marshall Islands. Although stopped by the U.S. Coast Guard, it made national news for bringing awareness to the damage and public health risks caused by nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands. Dubuque is home to more than 800 Marshall Islanders, making it the largest population of Marshallese along the “great loop” journey.

Dolores “Dee” Myers, BVM

We spent a beautiful day at the Port of Dubuque watching the arrival of the Golden Rule peace boat. Many were gathered to watch this historic sailboat make its way to the Ice Harbor. The Golden Rule is a project of the Veterans for Peace. This restored boat had once set sail in 1958 to stop nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands and has inspired many people to act for peace and to create more “peace ships.” Today, the Golden Rule sails to remind people that nuclear abolition is possible.  From Dubuque, it will continue on down the Mississippi and up the east coast to Maine, stopping at numerous ports along the way. 

Calmly floating from Lock and Dam #11 to the Ice Harbor, Golden Rule navigated the Mississippi River accompanied by the Dubuque Sailing Club flotilla. Its red sails were rolled up . . . not to be unfurled until Monday when the Civic Community presented their program.  

The welcoming committee, who are also members of the BACK from the BRINK group, greeted attendees, which included many local veterans. As the Golden Rule docked, crew members were presented with leis and greeted with a traditional Marshallese welcome. The plaza filled with the sounds of clapping, music, and horns—from several locations—including two commercial excursion ships filled with passengers. Marshallese dancers in native, bright-colored dresses and musicians expressed their delight. The crowd cheered.  

The Captain greeted the attendees with a short speech of gratitude. It was a delightful day with more activities planned the following day. The Marshallese children were everywhere enjoying the large spaces to run and play. 

We enjoyed the immense beauty of our time by the water. In addition, we visited the seven fabulous sculptures along the river walk. Given the “theme” for the day, I could not miss the last one . . . crafted of copper was the world, split in half, with many hands stretched between the two halves! It was awesome, overwhelming, and so accurate in expressing our world situation today. 

To learn more about the Golden Rule, visit: 

To learn more about BACK from the BRINK, visit: 


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