"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Memories of MUM - First protest voyage, Part 1

Why is  Barbara Reynolds, a wife, mother, and writer of children's books from Wisconsin, having a monument erected to her memory in the Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima, Japan? (For those of you who have been reading all my posts since His Scribe, please bear with the redundancy.)

In 1958 and 1961, as part of the Reynolds family, she sailed on protest voyages against American and then Soviet nuclear testing. over the following years, she accompanied survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs around the world appealing for an end to nuclear weapons. She founded the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima and was made a citizen of the city by Mayor Hamai and declared to be a "Japanese National Treasure" at a dinner with Prime Minister Nakasone.

It all started after my dad "Skipper" designed and built a yacht in Hiroshima, Japan while studying the effects of radiation between 1951-54. We spent the next four years sailing around the world in it. (That's on His Scribe.) Now it was 1958 and we were in Hawaii, looking forward to the last leg of our journey back to Hiroshima. . .

NOTE: This is all covered in detail in posts on His Scribe.  I'll be re-posting over the next few days a few of them that pertain especially to my mother and Hiroshima,  posts headed PHOENIX from Sept. 14-28 and posts headed MUM from November 13-24.

From His Scribe.September 14, 2010

PHOENIX and GOLDEN RULE (1) First Encounter

     Our official circumnavigation didn't end in Hilo. We still intended to sail back to Hiroshima. With that in mind, we pulled into the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, Honolulu, May 2, 1958, for our final fitting-out (painting, overhauling engine and radio, making a new mainsail, studying charts and pilot books) before re-crossing the Pacific.

  Across the dock from the Phoenix was a smaller yacht which was also getting publicity, more controversial publicity than we were. It was the Golden Rule and three of the four men aboard were Quakers, a category of people we had never met before.
     The captain was Albert Bigelow, 52, a former Navy commander during World War II--an unlikely convert to pacifism, one might think. With him were Bill Huntington, a rather tall, scholarly-looking man, about 50; George Willoughby, a short intense man in his forties with a doctorate in political science and Orion Sherwood, an earnest, cheerful young man in his twenties, a Methodist.

     On March 25, the crew of the Golden Rule had sailed from San Pedro, California to Hawaii with the intention of continuing on into the area of the Pacific Ocean where our government was testing atmospheric nuclear weapons. They intended to protest radioactive fallout with their own bodies.
     A hastily-imposed injunction, dated April 16, made it illegal for American citizens to enter this 390,000 square miles of open ocean. In other words their trip, legal when they left California, was illegal by the time they reached Honolulu.
     In spite of the injunction, on May 1 the sailors had left Honolulu bound for the forbidden zone.
     They were intercepted by the Coast Guard. The Golden Rule was towed back and the four men were put under arrest.
     This is where things stood when we arrived in Honolulu the very next day. We were curious about these men and their strong convictions about "nuclear explosions, by any nation," being "inhuman, immoral, contemptuous crimes against all mankind."
     But Skipper was even more concerned with the fact that the huge area of the Pacific Ocean declared off-limits to American citizens blanketed any reasonable route by which we could sail the Phoenix back to Japan.

His Scribe, Golden Rule Part 1

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