Thursday, July 16, 2009

Agent Orange, We Live It Every Day

(Washington, D.C.) -- The Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., (AVVA) applauds the National Organization of Disabilities and Ford Foundation for the release today of U.S. Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange: Understanding the Impact 40 Years Later.

Said Elaine Simmons, National President of AVVA, “As the families, friends, and supporters of our nation‟s Vietnam veterans, we know, only too well, the long-lasting, debilitating effects of Agent Orange/Dioxin, because we face them in our daily lives, as we attend to our sick and disabled.”

“We find it ironic, however, that this brutally honest assessment--which concludes that, forty years after the war, “It is still not too late to correct lapses in the nation‟s treatment of veterans who were exposed to dioxin during the Vietnam War”--is the byproduct of the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin, a group whose primary missions are to raise awareness and mobilize resources .for the Dioxin damage to Vietnam, the country, and its people.

“Unfortunately, it is „way too late‟ for so many our veterans--we remember them at the In Memory Plaque, when we visit The Wall, in Washington D.C. As families, we stand together, way too often, at the funerals of our beloved veterans, who are dying at a rate, from Agent Orange related diseases that breaks our hearts on a daily basis.

“Lovingly, we scrutinize our new grandbabies, praying that we won‟t see evidence of birth defects, learning disabilities, and cancers, which seem to strike us at a rate that is so much higher than our non-veteran families Agent Orange, we say.” And if Agent Orange rears its ugly head, we pray we can help our children learn to live with these disabilities and diseases.

“We will continue to hope. If it takes addressing the effects of Agent Orange/Dioxin in Vietnam to focus on addressing the lapses in care in America, then we will demand that our nation, when providing aid to our former enemy will, finally, address the needs of our veterans and their families at home.

The Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America is a national, nonprofit membership and service organization dedicated to advancing the full range of issues affecting all veterans, their families, and their communities. Our more than 6,000 members are families, friends, and supporters of Vietnam veterans, as well as Vietnam veterans and veterans of other eras.

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