Each year, Aug. 10 is set aside every year to observe Agent Orange Awareness Day. This date marks the first day the substance was used in Vietnam and is meant to pay tribute to those who were exposed to this deadly compound. Missouri's National Veterans Memorial will "go orange" beginning at sunset Tuesday, Aug. 10, to observe Agent Orange Awareness Day.
This is no "official" way to observe Agent Orange Awareness Day. Many choose to remember loved ones and friends who are affected, or were affected by Agent Orange in ways like how veterans are generally honored on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Some choose to visit the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. as sort of a pilgrimage of remembrance. Others may choose more private ways to pay respect to those who suffered the effects of the compound.
The United States began using Agent Orange in Vietnam as early as 1961. The purpose of Agent Orange was to defoliate the jungle. It was mostly disbursed by plane, but also disbursed on the ground by truck, by boats and even disbursed by people carrying the compound in backpacks.
Agent Orange contained an incredibly toxic substance known as dioxin. It is responsible for cancer, birth defects and other symptoms.
In 1979, U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed off on a Department of Veterans Affairs study of Agent Orange, which later became legislation known as the Agent Orange Act of 1991. The Blue Water Navy Veterans Act of 2019 expanded the criteria for Agent Orange exposure to include those stationed on ships off the coast of Vietnam during the conflict.
Individuals are invited to visit the memorial Aug. 10 as the Missouri National Veterans Memorial turns orange to honor and pay respects to those who have been affected by Agent Orange exposure. Lean more about Agent Orange, its effects on those exposed and what assistance is available. For more information, contact the MNVM at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 573-547-2035.