Event to highlight effects of Agent Orange on Vietnam veterans

Veteran's Voices

DES MOINES, Iowa — An event is planned for Tuesday evening, regarding Agent Orange, a widely used defoliant in the Vietnam War. Later the chemical was found to have caused health problems for soldiers who were exposed to it during their military service in Vietnam.

The event will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Vietnam Memorial Wall on the State Capitol grounds in Des Moines.

Agent Orange was first used on August 10th, 1961 as a part of Operation Ranch Hand, spraying the herbicide. It was estimated that 400,000 were killed or maimed due to exposure to Agent Orange. But still, many Americans and veterans are unaware of this chemical’s damage.

The event at the Capitol grounds will light up the Vietnam Memorial in orange light. People are encouraged to wear orange to this event. It was held last year as well, as a part of the National Agent Orange Awareness Event first held in Washington DC, and across the country.

“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,” said Daniel Gannon, Commander of the Des Moines Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 20. “We 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.”

Representatives from the Des Moines VA will be there to answer questions and sign vets up for the Agent Orange Registry. Attendees are encouraged to maintain social distance and to bring their own lawn chairs if needed.

“The main focus is awareness, we have just passed through Congress three more presumptive diseases that are caused by Agent Orange herbicide,” said Gannon. It would surprise you how many soldiers I don’t know about Agent Orange health issues and this is a way to bring up awareness and get them involved.”

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