5 February 2016

Published February 3, 2016 by rochellewisoff

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Sandra Crook

*********

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Please be considerate to the reader and keep your word count down. 

The next photo is the prompt. It’s proper etiquette to give credit to the contributor. Remember, all photos are copyrighted. Use other than for Friday Fictioneers requires express permission and, in some cases, remuneration. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Erin Leary

PHOTO PROMPT © Erin Leary

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Genre: Realistic Fiction

Word Count: 100

COLLATERAL ORANGE DAMAGE

            “Farewell, Rob.” I laid my battered dog tags on his grave.

            Prostate cancer took him. Doctors say I’m next.  

            Please try to understand. We were soldiers following orders.

            “A little defoliating agent to clear the jungle and expose the enemy.” Our commanding officers assured us. “Nothing that will harm a human.”

            I had to go back and see for myself.

            Last night I visited a children’s hospital in Ho Chi Minh City where the fruits of our labors languish with twisted or missing limbs and eyes that bulge from enlarged skulls.  

            We have exposed the enemy, and he is us.

.

.

WARNING! This is disturbing, watch at your own risk. 

119 comments on “5 February 2016

    • Dear Archon,

      I have to wonder if anyone, including our government had any idea of the far reaching effects of Agent Orange. I’ve two brothers in law who are suffering because of their exposure. I had no idea to what extent…well there are no words.
      Thank you for commenting.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • I think that is the possibly the most powerful 100 word story I’ve read of yours, Rochelle. That last line is so dramatic, and the link so harrowing. Very well done, for reminding us once again, in your inimitable way, of man’s inhumanity to man. And thanks for the massive “heads-up”. I appreciate it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Sandra,

      I’ve two brothers in law who’ve suffered the effects of Agent Orange. I’d thought to tell their stories until I started the research thread. Thank you for such a glowing comment.

      I wonder if the government had any idea the far reaching devastation their combat tactic would have.

      As for the heads up…you earned it! Great story. 😀

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • That was a terrible war from beginning to end. Our troops suffered as well as the Vietnamese. Who knows how much our government knew or didn’t know. The damage is done and it seems will continue. Although drugs thought beneficial are tested. It seems this destructive one wasn’t. Those responsible for giving the order to use it are now probably dead and gone. It’s a sad chapter in the history of the U.S. for sure. Powerful story and film clip, Rochelle. — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Suzanne,

      Vietnam was terrible on so many levels. The research thread led me down a very grisly path. It seems that Agent Orange destroys DNA, hence these horrid birth defects three generations later. Not to mention those, both Vietnamese and American who’ve suffered cancers and any number of physical ailments. The film clip I chose is the most innocuous of the lot. 😦

      Thank you for your affirming comments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Claire,

      I’ve two brothers in law who served in Viet Nam. Both of them are having major health problems now attributed to Agent Orange. I’d fully intended to tell their story until I started researching. I’m still horrified by what I found.
      Thank you so much for your affirming words. They mean a lot.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • I’m too young to have any memory of the Viet Nam era. It hardly ever comes up these days. Your story is a good reminder of the lingering consequences of that kind of environment. I’ve been reading a good book about the Nigeria/Biafra war. That war never gets any attention these days

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Larry,

      To quote Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, “Must you boast about your age.” 😉

      There’s a lot of ‘forgotten’ history swept neatly under the rug. Bringing things to light seems to be a mission I’ve been given these days. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I’ve no words, Rochelle. Tears are flowing, though. This was definitely one of your most powerful 100 words, yet.

    I’m sad for your brothers-in-law as well. Not easy to be part of such a horrid experience on either side.

    Liked by 2 people

  • As stated by others, this story, and the link, are a very real and graphic pictures of the atrocities that still haunt us from the consequences of war. You continue to amaze me with your ability to portray such feelings and mental pictures in so few words. To tag “like” to this is only in reference to your writing ability, not the subject. You need to be on everyone’s reading list worldwide.

    Like

  • One of your hardest hitting stories yet, Rochelle. Nicely done. It seems war never really has a winner. Everyone loses in some way or another, even those who aren’t directly involved.

    Like

  • Unfortunately it’s a gritty reality and I wish with all my heart that it hadn’t happen. What’s scarier is that we evidently haven’t learnt much over the years 😦

    Like

    • Dear Eric,

      it’s a story that needs to be told. A) because the government really isn’t doing enough for these vets. How we treated them back in the day was bad enough. B) The US is doing nothing at all for the Vietnamese.
      Re my story…thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • And war is still the only way for some… I wonder what atrocities we will find afterwards.. Agent Orange and Vietnam was so terrible on so many levels… but maybe one of the worst thing is that one of the reason of the terrible effects is that it was not the defoliating agents but contamination that caused the effects… and the companies who increased their profits by bad processing… almost more sickening than warfare itself… as usual you set the bar high for storytelling.

    Like

    • Dear Björn,

      I believe Monsanto (the people who brought us Agent Orange) are waging a war on humans in general. But that’s my opinion. At any rate it’s the ‘gift’ that keeps on giving. Thank you for your thoughtful comments and your compliments re my story.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • ‘Rochelle, the undisputed master of what I call Sound Bite Fiction.
    She sets the weekly challenge, and the standard.’
    This is my weekly intro to my own story, and once again you prove it to be accurate.
    A piece of astonishing potency, it disturbed me without the video, which I have no intention of watching.
    Our cruelty to each other is surpassed only by our indifference to the effects of our ‘weapons’.
    A magnificent portrayal of evil.

    Liked by 3 people

  • I wonder how many more times we will witness such evils before we wake up – I don’t really want to continue down that path, because I don’t like the probable answer it will reveal. Your story is heart-breaking, Rochelle. The ending is powerful and hard-hitting.

    Like

    • Dear Ali,

      Until I started the research for this story I didn’t realize how far reaching were the effects of Agent Orange. You’re the first to say anything about the deliberate repetition of “expose.”

      Thank you.
      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • And we think we live in enlightened times. Look what we do to each other and our world. I knew about this and will just add my praise to that of the others: outstanding and powerful with a last line that takes my breath away because it is so true. The monster is in all of us.

    Like

  • I don’t have the heart to watch the video. The story shook me enough. With all the diseases(Zika virus now causing birth defects) and plagues…did man have to add war to the mix?

    Expertly told story – The last line was powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

  • The video you shared made me want to beat my breast and cry out in pain.
    Thank you for sharing your research with us.
    And, as always, your story was powerful, emotionally moving, and heart-breaking — you should publish a book with all of your 100-word historical fiction responses to these photographs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Vijaya,

      The video and others that were even more graphic had the same effect on me. This one was tame by comparison.

      There’s been some talk of my publishing a book of flash fiction. I haven’t acted on that yet as I have so much going on. The original thought was to have it be a book of one hundred 100 word stories. I have written many more since that conversation. The idea’s still under consideration.

      Thank you as always for your glowing words re my story and my writing.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 2 people

  • And it seems to go on daily – look at the water situation in Flint – but will the government step in with the money needed to fix it? Heavens no – it won’t buy them the right politician, power, or oil well!

    Very well done!

    Kudos for Sandra – a truly magnificent piece!

    Like

  • Such a sad true story. I lived through these times as a young adult and this was the first time that we had TV to record the atrocities. It was also sad that the Vietnam Vets were blamed for the war when they were ordered to do what they did. They did not have a choice. Many are homeless and suffer from PTSD and other mental illnesses as a result of being in the war.:(

    Like

    • Dear Susan,

      The treatment of those vets is something that tears at me. The war was very much a part of my adolescence. Frightening times that don’t even make today’s history books. No winners in this one.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Rochelle, what a haunting and disturbing story. One of the worst legacies of war is the innocent casualties who continue to suffer long after the soldiers have gone home, as in this case and in the case of landmines. Hopefully we as a species will improve with time.
    Amazing story.
    -David

    Like

  • There are no good guys in war. Very thought provoking story. It’s terrible how often uses of supposedly “harmless” chemicals are eventually proven to be anything but.

    My dad’s also a Vietnam vet, but he wasn’t exposed to agent orange. He was the victim of a landmine, though. He lost an eye, part of his face and still has shrapnel in his back. The resulting medical problems have been constant ever since he came home.

    Like

    • Dear Emilie,

      It makes me sad to hear about your dad. You’re right there are no good guys in war. However, the Vietnam vets, in my opinion, were treated worse than others. If the horrors they suffered weren’t enough, they were vilified when they returned home. No hero’s welcome. I’ve two brothers in law suffering the effects of Agent Orange.

      Thank you for sharing your story and for commenting on mine.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I was too young to fully comprehend the war. I didn’t understand why my cousin joined the army until later when I understood he didn’t have a choice. My mother was upset when they never covered the Vietnam War in my history classes at school. We do have a tendency to sweep things under the rug and change the perspective of history. I also share your fear of Monsanto and what is to come or currently happening that we will find out about later.
    Another powerful piece Rochelle.

    Like

    • Dear MTO,

      I’m with your mother. It’s upsetting that this history isn’t taught in school. All through my adolescence the Vietnam war was all over the news. Monsanto terrifies me.

      Thank you for your comments re my story.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Rochelle, such a powerful story. Very well done. The impact of war continues through generations and more continue to happen. When will the wars stop? The video was difficult to watch, but it is something that people should see.

    Like

    • Dear Amy,

      The video I shared is actually quite tame compared to some others I considered. I started out with the Agent Orange thread thinking of writing a story about a dying vet until I saw what A.O. has done to the DNA of the Vietnamese people. It’s appalling. Will wars stop? When there are no more humans, maybe.

      Thank you re my story

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Querida Rochelle,
    It’s been awhile. I’ve thought about you and your prompts often.
    It’s been difficult to catch up with my 2 blogs since the holidays.
    I hope to get back to some type of routine real soon. Hope you enjoy my entry
    this week.
    As I read you story, I was reminded of my hubby’s cousin who was a photographer
    in Vietnam. He was a lover not a fighter. But, that war made so many change.
    He returned home and was shortly diagnosed with prostrate cancer and other health
    issues from Agent Orange. I felt his memory in every word you wrote. He often
    spoke of the atroscities that were left behind there in Vietnam. He was never the
    man he was before the war. The video, as graphic and as upsetting as it is, shows those tragedies very well. I emptied an entire box of tissues as I viewed it.
    An extremely powerful story that’s been masterfully written. Your stories are always
    thought provoking. They leave the reader begging for more.
    Thank you for sharing this story in a very dignified way.
    Gracias … Siempre,
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear She Who Shall Remain Nameless this Week,
    We’ve got to find you a name. That’s too much to type. I know some GIs who were damaged by Agent Orange too. Nasty stuff. It took 30 years before the government would help them or take responsibility for what it did.
    Unfortunately, we are often the enemy.

    Froggy

    Like

    • Dear Froggy,

      I’ve been having an identity crisis and wondered what you were going to come up with. Now I shall have to wonder aimlessly and namelessly.

      I’ve two brothers in law who deal with health issues due to Agent Orange. What can I say? Pogo was right.

      Shalom

      SWSRNTW

      Like

  • That is a great line line for a powerful story. It is a bit sad that the chemical manufacturers (Dow Chemical and Monsanto) along with the US Government have not done enough to take responsibility for their actions.

    Like

  • A painful story. Repercussions always echo ages down. I have a friend whose parents were missionaries 20 miles from Hiroshima after the war. They are long gone but their daughter now in her 60’s, a missionary herself, has radiation poisoning from growing up in that part of Japan.

    Like

  • Such as awesome story! So well done Sandra… thank you for sharing it Rochelle! It is sad that the effects of war far out linger the war itself. I have Vietnamese friends and their family who still live overseas are very poor and have to live with them day after day. I’m not sure our war did them much good. But our soldiers were doing what they were told. I will always support our men and women of the military… It is also sad that our vets are not treated with more respect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Courtney,

      I had to share Sandra’s story. 😉 She’s one of the pillars of the Friday Fictioneers Community and was one who welcomed me with open arms when I was the new kid on the block.

      I wholeheartedly support the military. My husband is a vet with 28 years in the Navy. I only wish our government would take responsibility for the Vietnamese victims. I’ve two brothers in law who also suffer the effects of Agent Orange, fifty years after exposure. So tried to show both sides of the story.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments and compliments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Thank you for bring Agent Orange back into discussion. The Viet Nam vets had to fight so hard to have it’s effects recognized.
    Agent Orange was produced and tested at several bases in New Brunswick Canada at a high cost for the personnel and families.
    Showing the shame of the children of Agent Orange brings the horror forward — a horror we can’t ignore.

    Like

    • Dear DH,

      Agent Orange continues to reek havoc into the third and forth generations. It’s past time to recognize and do something about it.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • The solider’s regret over dark things done in ignorance and in the name of country, the personal illness and impact on the children and future generations… this is a terrible tale told very well, made more awful because it’s real.

    As always, well done.
    KT

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear KT,

      The Vietnam vets were sorely mistreated when they came home. A shameful piece of American history. They were following orders. My face burns with shame though when I see these children.

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

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