Agent Orange Awareness Month

AUGUST and OCTOBER are Agent Orange Awareness MonthSEPTEMBER 28, 20132

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

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Coolasas
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 17:41:23

    I didn’t know there was a month for Agent Orange …
    I worked in Cambodia and been witness to the extended catastrophic effect of Agent Orange decades past and present to the people then and children now — I’ve seen children badly disfigured because of it, older relatives severely disabled because of exposure to it during the war and the chemicals seeping through the land that was cultivated for food believed to be the reason why up until now we see children being born with disabilities.
    I realized now after reading your article that it was not only the people of Vietnam and Cambodia that were affected, also the veterans and I feel for them and their families.
    There really is no real winner in war, everybody is a loser and worst in this case and in the case of pressent day chemical warfare, the effect of it extend generations after generations. WE NEVER LEARN!

    Reply

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