Agent Orange ("AO"), a chemical defoliant was one of six different types of herbicide deployed by American Forces during the Vietnam War. Over 19 million gallons were sprayed. By most accounts, and since the end of the war, over 300,000 of our veteran service personnel have been affected by AO Dioxins, with more deaths attributable to AO Dioxins than the 58,000-plus who lost their lives during the war. A "Purple Heart" is awarded to Armed Forces Members who were wounded or killed by an action of the enemy. And therein lies the rub.
A Little Background
The six different types of herbicide used by U.S. forces in Vietnam were identified by a code name referring to the color of the 4-inch band painted around the 55-gallon drum that contained the chemical. These included Agents: Orange, White, Blue, Purple, Pink, and Green.
Between 1961 and 1971, the U.S. sprayed enough herbicides to cover almost a quarter of the total area of Vietnam, spraying on average 5,200 gallons per day for more than 3,700 days in a row.
A Little Recognition
The Department of Veterans Affairs (the "VA") recognizes over 40 cancers and sicknesses, including Diabetes II, as Agent Orange related and being "service connected." Yet most of the Vietnam-Theatre (i.e., those who were "in-country") veterans are unaware of this information.
The Order of the Silver Rose (
) hopes to see every Vietnam Veteran exposed to AO Dioxins given the Honors and Recognition they deserve. As such, the Order of the Silver Rose offers their Silver Rose Award to all eligible Vietnam Veterans or their surviving families.
A Little Reminder
Every Vietnam Veteran should have a yearly physical along with certain simple tests that could easily lengthen or even save their lives through an early diagnosis of the VA acknowledge, service connected, AO Dioxins related illnesses. Further, the surviving-spouse of a veteran who died of a "service connected" illness, regardless of whether it had been acknowledged by the VA before their death, could be entitled to a significant, life-time, tax-free, stipend.
A Little Local Color
In October 2005, at Marjorie Post Park, Merrick Avenue and Unqua Road in Massapequa, the country's first Agent Orange Memorial that mentions AO Dioxins by name was dedicated. At this writing there are now eight such memorials in place around the country -- with more in the works.
The Rub and the Birth of the Silver Rose
As a result of AO not being "an action of the enemy," which means in turn, there is no entitlement to a Purple Heart, in February 1997 the Silver Rose was born.
And A Final Thought or Two
The Order of the Silver Rose and its history was discussed in one of my first articles "A Veteran's Health: A Most Family Affair" (
). Next week we'll look again at "Brown Water, Blue Water: Agent Orange Never Cared" (
). It seems things have again changed.
--- Regards, Walt Schmidt