It’s time once again to observe Agent Orange Awareness Month. Here at Legacy of Our Veterans Military Exposures or lovme we began observing Agent Orange Awareness not only in the month of August but also October. I know it’s confusing to some but here is a little history behind Agent Orange Awareness Month.
My understanding is that most states have designated October as the month of choice but in Maine, where I live, it’s August.
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced and passed a resolution making August Agent Orange Awareness Month>>>S.Res.248 – A resolution designating the month of August 2009 as “Agent Orange Awareness Month”
FROM SENATOR COLLINS: Increase Agent Orange Awareness (reprinted here with permission)
“Increase Agent Orange Awareness” Weekly Column Senator Susan Collins August 21, 2009 More than 8.7 million American men and women bravely served our nation during the Vietnam War. More than 58,000 gave their lives defending freedom, including 339 from Maine.
Some three and a half decades later, an estimated 2.6 million Vietnam veterans bear an awful legacy from that conflict – severe, debilitating, and even fatal health problems that have resulted from their exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange. Adding to the tragedy is the fact that these health problems at times afflict not only just those who served in Vietnam, but also their children.
As memories of the Vietnam War fade into history, we must never forget those who served all those years ago and who continue to suffer today. That is why, as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am pleased that the U.S. Senate recently unanimously passed my Resolution designating August as “Agent Orange Awareness Month.” This Resolution was co-sponsored by my Maine colleague, Senator Olympia Snowe, and Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. It follows the lead set by the State of Maine, which set aside this month in tribute to these veterans.
Agent Orange was used during the Vietnam War to kill unwanted plant life and remove leaves from trees that provided cover for the enemy. The United States military sprayed more than 19 million gallons of herbicide throughout South Vietnam. Agent Orange, an extremely toxic substance that contains dioxin, accounted for approximately eleven million gallons of that total.
While some of our military personnel were sickened immediately upon exposure to the chemical, a great many more did not experience symptoms until they returned home. In the years since, the Department of Veterans Affairs has recognized that certain cancers and a wide range of other illnesses, from diabetes to neurological disorders, are associated with exposure to Agent Orange. In addition, the children of some of these veterans suffer from such devastating medical conditions as spina bifida. Ongoing research continues to uncover more links between Agent Orange exposure and serious health issues.
The deployment of Agent Orange was a tragic mistake, one that unintentionally has caused great harm to both Americans and to the people of Vietnam. Our nation must continue to undertake further research into the links between Agent Orange and disease and provide our Vietnam veterans and their families with the health care and support they so fully deserve.
Supporting our troops doesn’t stop once they leave the military. Just as no member of our armed forces would leave a comrade behind on the battlefield, we must not leave any more veterans and their families behind on the battlefields of diseases that result from toxic exposures.
Our Resolution, which has the strong support of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, reminds all Americans of our obligation. It calls attention to those veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and the adverse effects that such exposure has had on their health. It recognizes the sacrifices that our veterans and service members have made and continue to make on behalf of our great Nation, especially those veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange. It reaffirms our commitment to our veterans, of all places of conflict and of all times.
Nothing we can do will ever fully repay the Vietnam veterans for all they gave and all they lost, particularly those who have been damaged by Agent Orange. Our veterans never stopped trying to serve our country under the most difficult and dangerous conditions overseas. We must never stop trying to serve them when they return home.
Vietnam Veterans of America
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) declares October as Agent Orange Awareness Month. The pdf also has a brief history of Agent Orange Awareness month on page 21: https://vva.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/VVA-Resolutions-2015.pdf
Why is Agent Orange Awareness Month relevant to those involved in the food movement?
One word answer is Monsanto. Monsanto was the largest producer of Agent Orange during the Vietnam war. We all wonder why a company like Monsanto has transformed itself into the leader of Genetically Modified Food, Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs. Well the answer is simple, greed and commercialization of war time technology.
Commercializing Wartime Technology
Is Monsanto the first company to commercialize war time technology? The answer is NO, of course not. All we have to do is look at wartime technology commercialized from WWII such as nuclear power plants or microwave ovens. Just as chemotherapy was discovered by poisoning our soldiers during WWI and WWII, not all wartime technology is bad. For the unsuspecting populous there doesn’t seem to be any mechanism in place to prevent dangerous technology from being commercialized either.
Here is some of the info I saved over the years about Agent Orange Awareness Month:
States that Observe Agent Orange Awareness Month in August:
Agent Orange Awareness Month is honored in the following states for the month of August:
Maine – Date Unknown
States that Observe Agent Orange Awareness Month in October: Agent Orange Awareness Month is honored in the following states for the month of October:
TEXAS – 1998 – 1999
VERMONT – 1999
COLORADO – 1999
LOUISIANA – 1998
NEW JERSEY – 1998
NEW YORK – 1998
ALABAMA – 1998
FLORIDA – 1998
UTAH – 1998
WASHINGTON – 1998
MARYLAND – 1998
NEW HAMPSHIRE – 1998
MINNESOTA – 1998
WISCONSIN – 1998
RHODE ISLAND – 1998
OHIO – 1998
States Awaiting Governor’s Signatures:
States that Have Refused to Honor our Agent Orange Veterans:
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO CREATE AWARENESS:
1) BDRC ‘Children Center’ PETITION; Signing this petition will help thousands of Vietnam Veterans’ children that are in dire need of specific medical treatment related to Agent Orange exposure. Be a supporter and sign the petition on the behalf of ALL veterans: http://agentorangelegacy.blogspot.com/2013/05/children-center-petition.html
2) REGISTER NOW: IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO CHILDREN OF VIETNAM VETERANS; Vietnam Veterans of America Agent Orange/Dioxin Committee is asking the children of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange; adult children (we recommend you register your children also) who are ill and/or have birth defects, learning disabilities and/or mental health issues; to register with Birth Defect Research for Children, Inc. National Birth Defect Registry: http://agentorangelegacy.blogspot.com/2013/05/register-now-important-message-to.html
3) FILE FORM 21-0304: IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO CHILDREN OF VIETNAM VETERANS;
Vietnam Veterans of America Agent Orange/Dioxin Committee asks all the children (we suggest grandchildren also) of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange who are ill and/or suffering from a birth defect, learning disabilities, mental health illness, etc..to file a claim with the VA.
Use VA Form 21-0304. This is the same form used for the children of women Vietnam veterans. Your claim will be denied, but it will cause a record to be established.
Once this is done, should the VA change it’s policies and allow male veterans’ children more than spina bifida as a presumptive for the veteran’s exposure to Agent Orange, we will then have recourse:
4) FAQ; We are usually swamped with emails from people looking for answers to the same types of questions. If you have questions check the FAQs before contacting us. Many of your questions may already have been answered in this forum: http://agentorangelegacy.blogspot.com/2013/05/frequently-asked-questions.html
5) CLICK HERE for our PHYSICIANS’ RESOURCE 2015; Vietnam veterans have been reporting that their children have been born with birth defects and other health problems for decades. This cry for help has fallen on deaf ears for many years.We have created this one page document to help educate our doctors about the generational effects of Agent Orange on the Children of Vietnam veterans.
The children of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange continue to go without adequate medical intervention, without the support and services they so desperately need!
We hope that this informational document that we created for the children of Vietnam veterans will help aid in getting adequate medical intervention.
AGENT ORANGE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL
HONOR YOUR VETERAN AND THEIR CHILDREN LOST TO AGENT ORANGE; AGENT ORANGE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (AOVVM). AOVVM is an online memorial. A MEMORIAL TO OUR U.S. VETERANS LOST TO AGENT ORANGE: This page is a memorial of our veterans we loved & lost because of Agent Orange/Dioxin or physical & emotional wounds as a result of their service in Vietnam & to their country: http://www.facebook.com/aovvm
USE THESE PICTURES TO HELP SPREAD AWARENESS:
HISTORY OF AGENT ORANGE BROKE MY HEART™ and IMAGE
My daughter, Dee and I made this image in 2007 when we founded Agent Orange Legacy after her father (my husband) died due to his exposure to Agent Orange and his service (Hep C and PTSD).
When I wrote the words Agent Orange Broke My Heart™ for the first time I did so as the mother of a child affected by her father’s exposure to Agent Orange and as the widow of a Vietnam veteran lost to Agent Orange. Agent Orange had taken so much from me, from my daughter, my husband’s life, from our family.
Agent Orange broke my heart because I was forced to stand by and watch my child suffer while I was helpless to do anything for her. This wasn’t just a day, a week, a month; this was years on end. Her entire childhood. I advocated for her, of course I did. It was difficult. We didn’t know why she suffered from debilitating muscle spasms all over her body or why she also suffered from other serious health problems. The doctors didn’t know. The school officials didn’t know. Nobody seemed to know why she was ill or how to best help her. As a result she suffered in pain from these muscle spasms for many years.
Every mother wants the best for their child, not pain and suffering. A mother’s heart breaks when she can not relieve her child’s pain and suffering.
After reflecting on this and after my husband’s death I realized that Agent Orange Broke My Heart™.
My daughter and I have been using this image and Agent Orange Broke My Heart™ to spread awareness. It is our signature piece for our “Agent Orange Awareness Month Campaign” which we have been observing annually for many years.
Please help us spread awareness by sharing this image. Thank you for your support, Sharon & Dee, founders of Legacy of Our Veterans’ Military Exposure L3C and Agent Orange Legacy.
Legacy of Our Veterans’ Military Exposures LOVME (c) All rights reserved.
Agent Orange Legacy (c) All rights reserved.