For the last 15 years, members of the Wilton Quaker Meeting, Veterans for Peace, World Beyond War and other like-minded folks have marched as the last group in the Memorial Day parade. We honor the war dead by recommitting ourselves to working for peace. We advocate for a greater emphasis on diplomatic and non-violent solutions to conflict through the UN and other international organizations. We encourage the US government to work through diplomacy and international development aid to promote peace and sustainable development. We invite anyone who agrees to join us in this pro-peace group in the parade.
This year there will be additional public activities next week to honor the work of a local Quaker, Albert Bigelow, from Cos Cob. Bigelow sailed his 30-foot sailboat with three other crew members into the Pacific in 1958 with the intention to interrupt the Marshall Islands nuclear tests 12 years after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs exploded. He wrote a book called the “Voyage of the Golden Rule” to explain what prompted his act of conscience. His action drew international attention to the horrors inflicted by nuclear weapons and played a role in the movement to advocate for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty of 1963.
More recently, Albert Bigelow’s boat, “The Golden Rule,” was refurbished by Veterans for Peace, and has been on an 11,000-mile epic journey that began at the Great Lakes, headed down the Mississippi, around the Gulf Coast, and is now heading up the eastern shore of the US. Its crew consists of U.S. veterans and their mission is simple…to educate the public on the dangers we face from nuclear weapons and to promote a path forward that can provide safety and security for humanity and all living things.
Every baby boomer and each generation since has lived with the international relations doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). It has been in place since the beginning of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. It is based on the premise that the only way to prevent “the enemy” from destroying you is to ensure that you will destroy him in the process. It’s essentially a murder-suicide pact. It has been a Sword of Damocles dangling over the heads of all humanity, in fact, all life on the planet.
There have been a number of near misses and close calls over the last 75 years which could have ended civilization. International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War describes a 15 bomb “limited” exchange between nuclear powers creating so much particulate pollution that the earth’s temperature drops creating a “nuclear winter,” killing over one billion people from starvation and nuclear radiation sickness.
The likelihood of a deliberate or unintentional release of these weapons of mass destruction has grown significantly over the last year. The risk has never been higher. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has set their symbolic Doomsday Clock to just 90 seconds to midnight, the closest in its 75-year history. Any chance of a release of nuclear material from these horrific weapons of mass destruction is unacceptable.
Maintaining a strategy that has brought humanity to the brink of annihilation is immoral and unsustainable. In the forthcoming age of AI the imperative to limit these engines of annihilation is ever more urgent.
With climate change bringing greater pressures on people in many countries making survival a challenge, it is time for a new path. The world can no longer afford for its leading powers to spend trillions on their nuclear weapons stockpiles.
There are a number of organizations that are advocating for a more reasoned approach including World Beyond War, CodePink, Back from the Brink, ICAN, Physicians Against Nuclear Weapons, Veterans for Peace, and others. In 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ninety-three countries signed the International Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons but the nuclear armed nations have not yet signed. China and India have pledged no first use. What can the US do to bring the world closer to peace and reconciliation and away from reliance on arsenals of thousands of nuclear weapons? Feel free to check out these organizations’ websites to learn more.
The Golden Rule boat will be docked at the Norwalk Veterans Memorial Park Marina from May 29 to June 2. Events during their stay include a Norwalk Pool Party to raise funds for their journey on Memorial Day in the afternoon. On Tuesday, May 30, Mayor Rilling will present a proclamation to welcome the U.S. veterans that make up the crew of The Golden Rule at the Veterans Memorial Park Marina. There will be a Meet & Greet from 5:30-7 p.m. at Eco Evolution after the Mayor’s Proclamation.
On Wednesday, May 31st, former mayor, Alex Knopp, will introduce a panel discussion on the History of Maritime Protests with Helen Jaccard from the Golden Rule crew and Peter Willcox, former captain of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior (who was raised in Norwalk) at the Norwalk Historical Society at Mill Hill. There will be an afterparty for the crew at Spacecat Brewery in SoNo open to the public on Wednesday night.
On Thursday, June 1, meet the crew of the Golden Rule, tour the famous boat on a first come first serve basis, and get a free ice cream from noon to 2 p.m. at the Veteran’s Park dock.
These events are supported by World Beyond War, Veterans for Peace, and the Wilton Quaker Meeting. Feel free to reach out to [email protected] from Wilton Quaker Meeting for details on events with “Golden Rule” in the subject line. We hope to see you!
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