That unfortunate anniversary actually came two years ago this month, but I trust you’ll allow me the indulgence of reblogging this to coincide with Agent Orange Awareness Month. It’s a post about my October 2010 visit to the Thanhxuan Peace Village, or Lang Hoa Binh Than Xuan, an orphanage, school and clinic in Hanoi set up specifically for victims of Agent Orange, now on its third generation. Rarely a day passes that I don’t think about that afternoon on the fringes of Hanoi.
From 1961 through 1971, United States military forces dumped 20 million gallons, or about 80 million liters, of Agent Orange, a chemical defoliant containing an especially virulent form of dioxin, on southern Vietnam. Manufactured by Monsanto and Dow Chemical, it was housed in 55 gallon barrels adorned by orange stripes, thus its name.
The operation ultimately left nearly five million people infected with dioxin. Estimates vary, but on the conservative side of things, some 150,000 Vietnamese children today live with the fallout.