In Memory Day, The Virtual Wall: And A Little About Agent Orange

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As we draw nearer to the end of April, many family's thoughts are drawn to Washington D.C. Why? To begin with there is the tenth annual In Memory Day Ceremony.

In Memory Day

April 21 Ceremony Recognizes Veterans Not Eligible for Inscription on The Wall when seventy-five American heroes will be honored posthumously during a ceremony to pay tribute to the men and women who died prematurely from noncombat injuries and emotional suffering caused directly by the Vietnam War, but who are not eligible to have their names inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (

). The Tenth Annual In Memory Day Ceremony will be held on Monday, April 21, 2008, at 10 a.m. at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Nearly 1,000 family members, friends and fellow veterans will be visiting the nation's capital to participate in this year's event, sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. In Memory Day allows The Wall to do what it does best: provide a healing environment for family members and friends. The Department of Defense developed very specific parameters that allow only the names of service members who died of injuries suffered in combat zones to be inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The In Memory program recognizes those men and women who have died prematurely as a result of the Vietnam War, but who do not meet the criteria. Many of their deaths are a result of Agent Orange exposure. During the ceremony, family members read aloud their loved ones' names in chronological order by date of death. Following the ceremony, participants lay tributes at the base of The Wall corresponding to the honorees' dates of service in Vietnam, so that these Vietnam veterans come to rest near those comrades with whom they served. With the addition of this year's honorees, more than 1,700 individuals will be honored in the In Memory Honor Roll. The annual In Memory ceremony is held on the third Monday of April. That date was chosen specifically to coincide with Patriots Day, which commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord at the start of the Revolutionary War -- the first time Americans fought for freedom and democracy.

The Virtual Wall

The Virtual Wall is a commemorative website (

) created to extend the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It allows families, friends and veterans to post photo, text and audio remembrances to those who lost their lives in the war or remain missing in action (


The Virtual Wall features more than 100,000 messages, anecdotes and photographs and provides visitors with the ability to print digital name rubbings (;=true) similar to those at The Wall in Washington, D.C. The Memorial Fund encourages you to post remembrances for friends and loved ones whose names are inscribed on the Memorial to remember and honor each and every one of those who served in the Vietnam War and to expand this digital legacy project.

Agent Orange

The following information is from the issue of the Medical Research Council dated March 24, 2008, "Environmental Factors Linked To Development Of Autoimmune Diseases," (


"Scientists working at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research have shown that environmental factors can influence the development of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis. A team led by Dr Brigitta Stockinger has identified a molecular mechanism that links a wide range of environmental factors to the autoimmune reactions in which immune system cells attack body tissue. The results are published online in Nature. The research focused on a protein called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). Activation of the AhR causes enzymes to be produced that are involved in reducing the toxic effect of a wide range of chemicals on the human body. Many of these, such as


[the 'active ingredient' in Agent Orange]

, are generated in industrial processes. The research found that stimulation of AhR by environmental factors could be involved in development of autoimmune disease."

This is not the only study nor the only disease that is being suggested/found to be 'influenced' by Vietnam Veterans' exposure to Agent Orange.

Only more time, a precious commodity not all of us have, will tell.

--- Regards, Walt Schmidt