By Ann Wright, retired United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official
61 years ago, in 1958, the crew of the small sailboat, Golden Rule, sailed from California to Hawai’i on their way to the Marshall Islands in an attempt to stop U.S. atmospheric nuclear testing. Radiation exposure had caused miscarriages, deformed babies and cancer among Marshallese communities and the above-ground tests had spread radioactive Strontium 90 around the planet, spawning great outrage throughout the world. In Honolulu, the U.S. Coast Guard stopped the Golden Rule crew twice and arrested and jailed the crew for a month. Eventually, the crew and the Golden Rule returned to the United States, where the boat disappeared from public view for 50 years. In 2010, she sank in Northern California and was subsequently raised and restored by members of Veterans for Peace and many other volunteers. For three years, her crew sailed up and down the West Coast, stopping in ports to give educational presentations on the dangers of nuclear weapons we face today. In July 2019, a crew of four sailed the historic boat to Hawai’i, where she is visiting all the Hawai’ian Islands and then in December 2019, the vessel will set sail for the Marshall Islands, her original destination 61 years ago. After holding educational events on nuclear weapons issues for a month in the Marshall Islands, the Golden Rule crew will sail to Guam, Northern Marianas, and then Japan in August 2020 for the 75th anniversary of the horrific U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The general public is invited to participate in more than 20 educational events on nuclear issues at high schools, universities, and civic groups in Hawai’i.