The legacy of Agent Orange is one that's ongoing. Let's push for research like S. 1602.
I was born prematurely. I only weighed 2 pounds and 10 ounces and were it not for the fact that my father was in the military, chances are I wouldn't be here. Of course, there's also a good chance that had my father not been military and exposed to Agent Orange I may not have been born so early.
And, I would also potentially have a younger sibling. My mother had another child born prematurely after I was born who didn't make it.
Growing up, I had a weird skin condition. It wasn't quite eczema or psoriasis and no one really knew how to treat it. My hands, feet, and knees and elbows grew more skin than I needed, and it would peel off in strands and sheets. I'd get calluses on my hands and feet, too, the skin thick and yellow. We tried a lot of things through the years--warm olive oil, prescription lotions, gels for psoriasis that smelled of pine tar.
This went on from the time I was about seven or eight until I was in college and around 20. As I got older, it improved, but it wasn't until college that it cleared up. No more split fingers, no more shedding skin. I still have to keep an eye on my skin health, but I've got a good couple of decades of what I consider normal skin. I can't help but wonder if there's any connection, though.
And I've got a bit of esotropia in my right eye, or as I refer to it, "my wonky eye." I've been told it's neurological. My eyes also rotate slightly--everyone's eyeballs jiggle a little and they don't realize it. Mine rotate a little like you would adjust the lens on a camera.
These are all minor inconveniences.
My sister Renee has discovered she's gluten intolerant--maybe. There's also a great chance that her sensitivity has to do with pesticides used to treat wheat crops. When we were in Ireland a couple of years ago, she was able to indulge in bread and not have any side effects. Organic flour seems to treat her fairly kindly, as well.
The more I read about the Children of Agent Orange, the more thankful I am to be here and to be whole. In addition to the print piece from Pro Republica, I'm sharing this rather lengthy video:
See also "The Toxic Wounds of War" which describes the introduction of S. !602. I'll be following the trail of that legislation to see if there are ways we can push for it's reintroduction.