Agent Orange awareness

Posted 8/3/21

August 10, 1961 is the date thought to be the first day the herbicide known as “Agent Orange” was sprayed in Vietnam. Operation Ranch Hand — involving the widespread use of the …

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Agent Orange awareness

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August 10, 1961 is the date thought to be the first day the herbicide known as “Agent Orange” was sprayed in Vietnam. Operation Ranch Hand — involving the widespread use of the defoliant — began five months later.

The Vietnam War is over, but the battle continues for many Vietnam veterans and their families. Nearly 3 million service members served in Vietnam and most returned home. But since then, thousands of Vietnam veterans have fought illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure.

This deadly toxin has impacted the lives of thousands of veterans, and some experts say, over 400,000 were killed or maimed as the result of exposure to AO. Even with these numbers, it is still largely unknown to most Americans and many veterans.

Join us at 7 p.m. August 10, 2021 at the Vietnam Memorial Wall on the State Capitol Grounds in Des Moines, Iowa, and you can help “bring light” to the suffering Agent Orange has spread since its first use on August 10th, 1961.

With your support, we will light up the Iowa Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in orange candlelight for our second-ever Agent Orange Awareness event. This event will mirror similar events across the nation, most notably at the National Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., and serve as a prelude to Agent Orange Awareness Month in October.

We hope you can participate and share with others your personal experiences and stories to help highlight the importance of ongoing efforts here in Iowa and encourage our local and national leaders to support the continued research and funding necessary to fulfill the promise of proper health and welfare our country has made to our veterans and their families.

VA Hospital Staff will be present to assist with Agent Orange Registry, claims and information on the Caregiver Support Program Expansion for anyone who hasn’t done so already.

Again, the event will take place on August 10, 2021, from 7-9 p.m., at the Iowa Vietnam Memorial Wall, on the State Capitol Grounds in Des Moines, Iowa. We will adhere to state and national CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We highly encourage all attendees to respectfully maintain social distancing measures.  This is an outdoor event so masks are acceptable if desired, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs if sitting is preferred.

This event is sponsored by Disabled American Veterans, Des Moines Chapter 20 and the Des Moines VA Hospital.

Kari KJ Lettow

Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs

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