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HUMAN ISSUES - VETERANS Agent Orange
https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolefisher/2018/05/28/the-shocking-health-effects-of-agent-orange-now-a-legacy-of-military- death/#81f7d6021c6a veteransagentorange_veteransissues_humanissues_thegoldenrivernet_updates_02/07/2017_07/04/2016  to top of page/menu VETERANS - AGENT ORANGE AGENT ORANGE LOCAL INPUT FROM VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL PARK IN FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO note 07/04/2016: as the website has been undergoing editing and changes some parts of this page are not up to par, including photos missing.  I will work on this soon.  This is one of the original sections of the website because I had made an emotional connection with the Vietnman Veterans Park in Farmington, New Mexico - located north of Butler Avenue and 30th Street not too far from the San Juan Community Cllege.  from about 2013 when things were still being learned.  Some of the older pages have not been fully edited while newer parts were worked on.  However let it be known that the Vietnam Era and veterans from that war as well as all wars are considered an important part of the American experience and dilemma.  The Vietnam Era is particularly close to heart for two reasons.  One is that I was a little girl watching things unfold in a small way through the adults around me.  I was overseas on an island that had something to do with Vietnam - Okinawa - as it was a supply or waylay station - and I heard news about Vietnam on a small clock radio in the kitchen when my mother was teaching me to read.  I remember my mother talking about the war because of that news.  The second point, as mentioned in the Uncle Mike section in personal Notes, is that my father’s only sibling, a younger brother, was in that war and came back with some kind of agitation problem.   I am not sure my grandparents told the rest of everything they knew, and I am sure they did not know all the details themselves.  Although Mike went on to become a very long-term and successful FBI agent before shooting his ex-wife and himself (we assume that is exactly what happened, but we must always consider other possibilities, including behind the scenes invisible fingers, just to be sure.  This is not to discount his responsibility if what was portrayed is what happened, but because of the widespread recent police abuses and scandals, we would not be thorough if we did not ask ourselves if Mike’s story was included in a system- wide conspiracy involving police and FBI shootings.)  Regardless of Mike’s actual situation, we can ask ourselves if tensions and problems created by Vietnam involvement set the stage for a psychological pre-disposition for out of control violence involving family members or others.  I do not know if Mike was exposed to Agent Orange or not, but we must consider that he could have been, like many others over there.  Agent Orange is a symbol of Vietnam’s out of control dark side, as it was the irresponsible usage of chemicals that endangered people on both sides of the war, wildlife, animal stock, agriculture and the environment in general.  We need to also consider that its constituent parts still show up in herbicides sold in stores today. Two signs go together and are found at the Farmington, New Mexico Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Butler Ave.  This site has a small set of picnic tables, lawn, children’s play area and trees, and has a nice native vegetation area in front near the main parking area.  It also has a clay and black granite brick area with names on them commemorating both living and killed/missing veterans.  Signs read left to right, but the second one on Agent Orange is presented first below.  The sign on the left talks about Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder with information which continues onto the sign found on the photo on the right which then talks about Agent Orange.  Click on the photos for an enlarged image. Second sign on right: “AGENT ORANGE in 1962 through 1971, a number of chemical herbicides were used extensively in South Vietnam.  The primary use of herbicide was to to kill vegetation and thus deprive enemy forces of ground cover.  Agent Orange was the most common herbicide and derived its name from the orange stripes on the 55 gallon drums shipped to Vietnam.  By denying ground cover, Agent Orange made enemy ambushes more difficult and undoubtedly saved American lives.  However, in the early 1970s, veterans began reporting health problems believed to be related to the dioxin in the herbicide.  A lot of controversy still exists over its effect on humans and extensive studies are being conducted.” First sign on left: Vietnam Veterans Issues Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: “In 1980, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was recognized as a psychological malady by the American Psychiatric Association.  Like shell shock or battle fatigue experienced by veterans of both World Wars, symptoms include a sense of emotional numbness, re-experiencing of the traumatic event, nervousness, depression, nightmares difficulty in developing close relationships, insomnia, and survivor guilt....Reasons cited for the high number....with PSTD include the failure of Americans to absolve them from their participation in the controversial war and the grueling guerrilla warfare of that war.  Furthermore, upon completion of their tour of duty, veterans did not return with a unit but by themselves and very quickly, without any time for readjustment into American society.  Whatever the reasons, since the end of the war, 59,000 Vietnam veterans have taken their own lives [as of 1993].  This is more than the number of US casualties sustained during the war itself.” (read the sign in the photo for the full content). Doing peace takes practice.  It does not do any good to talk peace when down inside we feel like mini-bombs waiting to explode.  Perhaps most of us have anger issues of one kind or another lurking somewhere below the surface.  We might display peace on one level while on another, we are ready to lash out at someone about something we feel attacked over or believe strongly.  Our pushed buttons might reveal who we really are more than all the words of peace we have ever expressed.  In the final analysis, peace might sound good but be hard to keep going all the time and everywhere.  The only way out of this seems to be self-work and honesty, with a desire to heal those parts of ourselves with jagged edges.   We can start on the path of peace, then, knowing we are not perfect and that we have our own non-peaceful tendencies when pressured about certain things.  Learning to identify and work with what pressures us is the key to a growing awareness of both ourselves and the sincere action of peace.