WILDWOOD – On June 12 at 11 a.m., American Legion Post 184 will host the Rally Against Agent Orange at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Wildwood.
According to a release, the rally is scheduled to be one of the largest yet, with four guest speakers and a focused campaign of “I Was Killed In Vietnam, I Just Haven’t Died Yet.”
The slogan is one used by many Vietnam veterans who feel their exposure to the toxic herbicide Agent Orange will ultimately lead to their death.
Agent Orange is responsible for a long list of diseases including cancer and Parkinson’s disease, with some ailments also affecting children and grandchildren of veterans through birth defects and disease.
In the ten-year span of 1961-1971, the U.S. military sprayed over 20 million gallons of herbicides over Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, with the most deadly being Agent Orange.
Used to clear the dense jungle used as cover for warfare, Agent Orange gave the U.S. military an advantage as it destroyed everything in its path with side effects unknown to the unprotected soldiers that used it.
Through the years, Post 184 Commander Harry Weimar and Junior Vice Director of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 955 Mike Kelly have spoken out about these issues.
They’re just two people in the very large fight against Agent Orange that has been mostly ignored by the government and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
A video to promote the rally was released on Tuesday, with both Weimar and Kelly sharing personal stories of their connections with the herbicide.
“We need more people to help get the word out and help us fight,” stated Weimar. “This rally will be the largest we have had yet. It has come to a point where we don’t have much fight left, we were all killed in Vietnam from Agent Orange but we haven’t died yet. We have to do this now.”
The Vietnam veteran members of Post 184 have arranged the rally for the 12th in hopes of spreading awareness.
Almost 50 years later, the general public is still mostly uninformed about issues.
Kelly stated in the video “there’s been a spike of Spina Bifida,” a birth defect where the spine and spinal cord do not form properly, “and it hasn’t gotten out there to the public.”
“There’s gotta be some light shined onto this subject, because the government is just waiting for all of us to die, so then we just shut up and it’s all covered over with sand,” stated Kelly.
To participate in the rally, head to the Vietnam Memorial Wall June 12 at 11 a.m. at the corner of Burk and Ocean avenues in Wildwood.
More information will be posted on the Legion website (legion184.org) and Facebook (facebook.com/legion184)
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