MUSCATINE, Iowa–Each year, the Mighty Mississippi brings many interesting ships both large and small to Muscatine’s shores, providing unique encounters for Muscatine residents to enjoy and learn from. Oct. 17, the Golden Rule Sailboat docked in Muscatine for a two day stay, as members of Veterans for Peace travel around the country promoting peace and nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.
Stephen Buck, the first mate of the Golden Rule, shared that the sailboat made her maiden voyage in 1958 when five Quaker men attempted to sail her to the Bikini Atoll to peacefully disrupt nuclear testing going on there. Years later, the Golden Rule got wrecked and sank, but a member of Veterans for Peace saw the vessel in a shipyard and worked with others to restore her to her former glory. After Buck captained the Golden Rule during a trip along the western coast of the United States, he and others volunteered to take her along the Great Loop which will see them travel down the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Kentucky where they will take a series of inland rivers to reach the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama before traveling up the east coast to Maine, swinging down to New York to take the Erie Canal into the Great Lakes, and stopping in Chicago before taking the Illinois River to rejoin the Mississippi River and travel down to New Orleans.
Throughout their 15 month journey, the Veterans for Peace volunteers will stop in different towns and make presentations, sharing the history of the Golden Rule and promoting peace by avoiding nuclear war. The group presented at the Musser Public Library Oct. 18.
Along with presenting, the four member crew of the boat, which includes Buck, the captain, and two additional sailors, have stopped to explore the cities they visit as well. Buck reported that all of the crew members have enjoyed trying new restaurants in Muscatine thanks to the generosity of residents who have befriended them, and that one person even visited the National Pearl Button Museum @ History and Industry Center to learn more about Muscatine’s foremost place in the history of the pearl button industry.
A unique opportunity both to work for peace and to see many parts of the United States, Buck has valued getting to meet many people through his travels and has deeply appreciated Muscatine’s openness and willingness to welcome visitors. “The folks are just so extremely friendly,” he said.
Though the Golden Rule left Muscatine Oct. 19 to continue on to Burlington, Buck encourages people to follow along with its journey. People interested in doing so may keep tabs on the voyage using the Veterans for Peace Golden Rule Project website or Facebook page.