Saturday, October 14, from 12 noon to 2 pm, the historic Golden Rule anti-nuclear sailboat* will lead a “Peace Flotilla” in San Diego Bay, alongside the Navy’s Sea and Air Parade, the culmination of Fleet Week. Members of Veterans For Peace will pass out flyers on the Embarcadero and talk with the public about the true costs of war and the urgent need for peace.
“We will provide an alternative message of peace,” says Gerry Condon of Veterans For Peace. “It is becoming more and more clear that military might is not the answer to the world’s problems – in fact, it makes them worse. Just look at the dangerous standoff right now between the U.S. and North Korea – this could lead to a catastrophic nuclear war with hundreds of thousands of casualties. Real diplomacy is urgently needed right now, instead of threats and shows of force.”
“Especially for San Diego, a military town for years, we need to realize the true costs of war,”said Gary Butterfield, President of San Diego Veterans For Peace. “That relates to maintaining such elaborate naval vessels, as seen in Fleet Week. Our tax dollars have never been justified through an audit of the Defense Department yet we can’t find the funding locally to prevent an outbreak of Hepatitis A in the homeless population, many of whom are military veterans. We need to be prudent stewards of our tax dollars and keep them at home.”
“This is also for the children,” said Mike Hanes, an Iraq War veteran.“Our young people need to see other examples of how they can interact with the rest of the world. Joining the military may not be their best option.”
Last week the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an umbrella group of nuclear disarmament organizations. The primary theme of theGolden Rule’svoyage this year is the importance of supporting the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
“The Nobel Peace Prize is a big boost to people all over the worldwho are pushing for the abolition of nuclear weapons,” says Gerry Condon. “The abolition of nuclear weapons is one of the primary goals of Veterans For Peace. “We want to see war and militarism replaced by diplomacy and respect for all peoples.”
The historic Golden Rule peace boat is spending the fall and winter in San Diego, where she is being hosted by San Diego Veterans For Peace.
*BACKGROUND:In 1958, four Quaker peace activists attempted to sail the Golden Rule sailboat from Los Angeles to the Marshall Islands to interfere with U.S. nuclear bomb testing in the atmosphere. They were stopped by the U.S. Coast Guard in Honolulu, arrested and thrown in jail. Although their mission was thwarted, the peace activists gained worldwide publicity and raised awareness of the dangers of radiation in the atmosphere. In 1963, President Kennedy, along with the UK and the USSR, signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which banned nuclear bomb testing in the air, water, or outer space, only allowing it to continue underground.
In 2010, the Golden Rule was discovered underwater in Humboldt Bay on the northern California coast. Over the next five years, the 34-foot wooden ketch was restored by a group of veterans, Quakers and boat lovers. Now a project of Veterans For Peace, the Golden Rule is once again sailing for a nuclear-free world.