On 10th August 1961 an event began that was to last for ten-years, and would leave a tragedy that has yet to find an end. Fifty years on, the Vietnamese people and their many friends around the world will be commemorating this special anniversary.
Let's recall and reflect on what happened on that day of 10th August 1961, and the consequences, so horrific, it is difficult to grasp, to understand. It raises in the minds of many the questions: WHY? And what can be done to overcome the criminal legacy of Agent Orange?
When the first planes took off from their base in South Vietnam on that fateful day, with its cargo of Agent Orange that was itself contaminated with Dioxin the world's most poisonous substance, and to begin the first spraying that was to continue for ten long years, none of the pilots or their crews were to know that they had set out on a mission that was to be repeated by others time and again resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent unborn babies, further, their actions were to cause the early deaths of many more thousands of innocent children, denying them their human rights, a right never to reach beyond their teenage years.
The results of the use of Agent Orange/Dioxin over those years have travelled down the years with devastating results; for the magnificent forests on which the chemical was sprayed, for the people living and fighting for their country's independence within the forests, the animal life, insects, all so vital for any forest.
For the people going about their daily lives in the fields outside the cities growing their crops, and tending to their animals, they too were to become victims of Agent Orange as were the children walking to school and who later, on returning home, were to help their parents in the fields. As the spaying continued, so the soil itself became poisoned as did the food being grown ..As did the fish in the rivers and lakes.