Five years ago today my father lost his life to Agent Orange. Today, I'm kicking off a 31 day blog run of posts for Agent Orange Awareness month.
I chose the REM song and video for many reasons, but it truly is the first memory I have of hearing anything about Agent Orange, so it seems appropriate that it kicks off the first of what will be 31 posts.
Dad's been gone five years today. He died on the first day of October--the first day of Agent Orange Awareness Month and the start of a month that leads to whatever you choose to call 10/31. Whether you call it Halloween, All Saints Eve, or the kick off day of the Day of the Dead, the focus on remembering the dead is there.
This year, the lead up to October has already been filled with thoughts of dad's time in Vietnam and the time that he was with us while part of him was probably back there. I can't imagine leaving Vietnam during those years and coming back whole.
Watching Ken Burns' and Lynn Novick's documentary has been hard. I usually try to have something else that I'm doing while it's on, something to filter it so I'm not fixated and glued to it. It's too much otherwise.
And I'm only just through episode 4. I still have the second half of 1967 and much of 1968 to get through before I get to the Tet Offensive.
Sadly, not only did dad not come home whole, but whatever emptiness was left from what he had to leave behind in order to come home was filled by the hitchhiker that is Agent Orange.
Each day, I'm going to leave a link to some resource, article, or other tidbit for those of you who want to learn more about Agent Orange and how it is still haunting us all. Today's is The Long Trail of Agent Orange from The Brian Lehrer Show.