I sit and read articles all day long that come through my phone and email with the key word Agent Orange alert. By no means do I do this all day because I want to. I read the articles for everyone else. I choose what I feel is the most relevant and important information to be passed on to members of this community
For years I wrote on my own, but I started to feel overwhelmed with emotion after sharing such raw and personal stories. I ended up putting my pen down a little over two years ago. Now, while I read others articles throughout my day, I have at times felt inspired to write again. Yet the proverbial block remains in place, until today.
As I read this afternoon, I saw a term that I see almost daily from various sources, time and time again. The term “Forgotten Victims” is always used to refer to the second generation of Vietnamese exposed to Agent Orange, the children born with severe birth defects and diseases; a direct result of the United States Military spraying the defoliant over the vast jungles of Vietnam to seek out the Viet-Cong with the goal of the U.S. to gain the advantage over the enemy.
Well, I beg to differ that the Vietnamese are “The Forgotten”. Billions and billions of dollars from both public and privately funded sources as well as volunteers, many from the U.S., go to Vietnam to clean up the poison, care for the sick, and research the travesty.
In fact, I feel that the truly “Forgotten Victims” of the Vietnam War are actually the Children of Vietnam Veterans themselves. We are suffering in front of the eyes of the nation. Diseases and birth defects abundant, as our fathers and mothers were exposed to Agent Orange, not just from being in Vietnam at the time of the mass spraying. But simply by working on a chopper or a C-123 plane used to release the poison and returning covered in enough Agent Orange to cause cancer. Or, for instance, being born on a United States military base that was actively testing Agent Orange has been proven to cause birth defects.
The devastation that Agent Orange has caused within the United States of America is wide spread and alarming. Numbers and documentation of the issue are in abundance. It is long past time for the world to open their eyes and take notice to the inter-generational effects of Agent Orange. Our parents served our country and many are dead or are dying as a result. Our veterans came home from the war to start families not knowing that they were passing the devastating effects of the poison on to their children while conceiving them. This isn’t a contest about who’s more in need of attention. The sad fact is we all are. Its is a world wide tragedy, that is now effecting the third generation in the United States.
So, I wrote today, the first time in years. I wrote to take a stand and to remind everyone that the Children of Vietnam Veterans truly are the “Forgotten Victims” of the Vietnam War and Agent Orange. I wrote today because I am one of those children. I wrote today because there are tens of thousands throughout this country just like me.