Jennie always embarrassed me when she introduced Henry & I as "Her Angels In Training"... It was just Jennie's way & we didn't take her seriously at the time, but we do now...We both learned alot from Jennie. The task that she took on involved a world full of sadness, loss & many, many tears but it seemed the most important thing that we learned was to remember to laugh & enjoy the ones who are still here with us.
I'm still not so sure that we are angels, but we're giving it our best shot. Honestly, I don't think that we could find a better group of people to spend our time with!
Henry was among the drafted back in 1967, he arrived in Vietnam on December 31st, 1967 at 18 yrs old. He was with the 6th / 56th Arty as a tank recovery vehicle operator.
Henry found out that he was diabetic in 1990 & it changed alot of things for us. Although he took only pills for the diabetes for quite some time it really worried him that he would become insulin dependant at some time in the near future. Henry spent most of his life as a truck driver so the thought of insulin dependance hung heavily on his mind. He did become insulin dependant within the next few yrs which means it ended his career of driving a truck for a living.....
The diabetes has progressed pretty thoroughly & he is on insulin 3 times a day, he has periphrael neuropathy in his feet & legs which recently has also been diagnosed in his hands & arms as well. He has high blood pressure & has also been diagnosed with glaucoma. Among other problems he has is back pain which is severe at times.
Meeting Jennie & helping out at the Quilt displays since 2001 helped us deal with our own grief of losing a very dear friend to AO cancer. Like most 'Nam Vets Henry never really talked about his Vietnam tour & he was especially hit hard by his buddy’s death.
Talking with the other Vietnam Veterans helped Henry especially when he realized that most of them share similar pasts & current issues even now 30 some years later...Vietnam hasn't went away...it's still taking casualties
He spent most of his Vietnam tour between Chu Lai & Bien Hoa, he returned home in August of 1969. He was there for the Tet of '68 & felt very lucky to have suvived to make it home.
He survived his tour in Vietnam somehow but like so many of his brothers & sisters Agent Orange has affected his health.
The ones that made it home from Vietnam thought they had survived & Vietnam was something in their past.... it isn't. Vietnam continues to take casualties every day right now with the legacy of Agent Orange.
Vietnam Veteran & Damn Proud Of It!
Never again shall one generation of Veterans abandon another!
The Veterans battle with Agent Orange is far from over!
The Veterans continue to get sick & die!
The government system still fails to emphasize the need for information & it needs to be widely publicized in detail to all it may concern!
"The Wall" bears a sacred face with nearly 60,000 names of casualties etched upon it...that seems like so many but yet it's not compared to the numbers that Agent Orange has taken!
By the time a Veteran gets into the VA system & waits for a doctor appointment he could die from the cancers & other illnesses due to Agent Orange exposure....something is wrong with that picture! Our system needs fixing!
If we remember only the ones that died
on the battefields of Vietnam & fail to remember the ones that are ill today soon we will be a generation of the past that didn't make a difference ....soon to be forgotten.
I'm not sure about the rest of you
it's been a long road & it took me
34 yrs to do it but
I'm a Vietnam Veteran
& I'm damn proud of it!
And I refuse to let our brothers
& sisters that are sick be forgotten
The Agent Orange Quilt Of Tears!
The Quilts Bring National Attention To The Plight Of The Vietnam Veteran Along With Information For All Veterans On Health Related Issues!
People notice these bright orange tapestries
where ever they go!
Many say they are much more powerful than
The Wall because they see pictures of real people.
Many Veterans identify with the units & bases represented on the blocks. Most importantly is they realize these
Quilts represent real people that have families & loved
ones. Many learn & ask questions,
many remember as tears flow ...
But they notice where ever we go!
I'm not a scientist, a doctor, nor a shrink...just the wife of a 'Nam Vet that cares about my husbands health. When all these health issues started going on with Henry & his buddies I was late to 'educate' myself but when I did I chose to read "Waiting For An Army To Die--The Tragedy Of Agent Orange" written by an enviromentalist by the name of Fred Wilcox. It wasn't an easy book to read but very honest.
It broke my heart especially as I read of the birth defects, I was really in tears! Then my tears turned to greater worry as I realized that 2 of our grandsons have Vietnam Veterans as grandfathers on both maternal & fraternal sides....I worried more & started to get angry! Why should I even have to worry about these things affecting my kids or my grandkids?! Because they have fathers or grandfathers that served their country in the military?!?
This picture is not right & cannot be justified!!
I've learned many things & done alot of research about dioxon, & many, many other things that harm our Veterans & their children since reading that book but everything I've learned has led me right back to the title ...
"Waiting For An Army To Die"!
The saddest part is things haven't changed since the Vietnam Veterans nightmare with Agent Orange, we continue to maim other generations & call them 'crazy'.! The Gulf War Veterans & their health issues have been dealt with perhaps even worse, we have ignored their issues long enough now that many of them have already died & others suffer devastating health issues along with witnessing numerous birth defects in their children. Now with IOF we have even more troops being exposed to things that will cause many more lives to be altered...
When will we ever learn?
I pray daily that by stressing the importance of regular physicals, health registries, & the importance of knowledge that we might help some Veterans & their loved ones while we are out displaying The Quilt Of Tears.
We encourage any Veterans suffering from A O illnesses to submit a Quilt block. For families & loved ones that have unfortunately already lost someone please submit a block for them. If you are a Veteran who does not have someone to make a Quilt block for you please contact us!
Children come up to us & ask many questions when we are out with The Quilts on display. The younger generations want to know & they are not taught these things in history classes..
The government & our history books tend to ignore the chemical & biological ways in which are soldiers are harmed, history has proven that. The longer it takes for the truth to be accepted the less money it costs because then our heroes die off before the sad truths are accepted & responsibility is taken.