COLLATERAL ORANGE DAMAGE

Published September 9, 2018 by rochellewisoff

This week Pegman takes us to Hanoi, Vietnam. Your mission is to write up to 150 words inspired by the location. Feel free to use the image supplied with the prompt or take your own tour of Hanoi. You’ll find photosheres and a limited amount of street view in Hanoi.

Once your piece is polished, share it with others using the link up below. Reading and commenting on others work is part of the fun.

I hated to miss another week so I hope no one minds that I’m sharing something of a rerun.  Not enough brain cells this morning to come up with something new. 😉 Thanks to Karen and Josh for keeping Pegman going.

This isn’t a fun piece by any stretch. Some may remember the shorter version I posted in Friday Fictioneers in February of 2016. Once more I dedicate this story to my brothers in law who both served in Vietnam and suffer the effects of Agent Orange. 

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Word Count: 100

COLLATERAL ORANGE DAMAGE

(Expanded)

            “Farewell, Rob” was all I could muster as I laid my battered dog tags on his grave.

            We’d been through a lot together, but in the end it wasn’t a Viet Cong bullet, but prostate cancer that got him. Doc says I’m next on the hit parade.  

            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’d read of the far reaching effects and wanted to check it out for myself. I booked a flight and a room in beautiful downtown Hanoi.

            Last night, after taking in the sights, I visited a children’s hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. There 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.

Click Here for a Disturbing Illustration

 

18 comments on “COLLATERAL ORANGE DAMAGE

  • Well done, though disturbing. Agent Orange was one of our most far reaching, deadly effects of a Government issued program that was initiated without proper research. Everyone exposed to it, enemies and ourselves were severely impacted for many, many years. Agent Orange knew no friends, only destruction.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Great story. The Agent Orange campaign was one of the most appalling things the US did in Indochina. The effects lingered for decades.

    From Michael Herr’s brilliant book Dispatches

    “Nearly 2.5 million Americans served in Vietnam. Ohio lost 3,094 of them. The rest of our boys came home, but the ship never righted. Guys I’d known my entire life weren’t fun, or funny, anymore. No more teasing, no big-brother reprimands to get out of the street and quit picking on the little ones. Sometimes I’d look at my friends’ older brothers sitting at the end of long front porches and their stares would scare me. I’d look in their eyes and get goose bumps. It was as if they thought I was trying to start a fight just by smiling at them. I’d scamper off, full of questions my father warned me never to ask.”

    Liked by 3 people

  • You didn’t even need your allotted 150-words to tell a heart-wrenching story. I’m so sorry about your brothers. This seems trite but war is hell for those in it and those affected by it. I’ve seen men (a couple of the patients at the dental office) who were damaged by agent orange. What a mean thing. My heart goes out to you, dear friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lish,

      It’s hard to watch two men deteriorate. They’re reward for serving. Originally this was 100 words. 😉 It seemed to bear repeating and I don’t think the expansion hurt it. Thank you for your kind words, my friend.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • I did quick google search and found that ~2.8 million vets “were exposed to the poisonous chemical while serving” and more than 4 million Vietnamese citizens were exposed as well.

    I remember hearing about it in high school American History, but I had no idea how huge an impact it had.

    Pretty eye opening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jacob,

      Vietnam, the war that keeps on giving. 😦 I’m glad that you at least learned about it in high school history. I’m not sure what history they teach anymore. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Much appreciated.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Grim, there was an amazing 6 part documentary on the BBC last year called just “Vietnam” harrowing wasn’t the word. It’s not really “our” history over here and our view is probably from apocalypse now or hamburger hill or some such.
    You should try and look it up it’s a terrible thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Shrawley,

    I’m wondering if you’re talking about the Ken Burns series that was run over here last year on Public Television. It was a terrible war…not just because of the war itself…the far reaching effects and chemical warfare. Not only that, the lack of support the soldiers received was shameful. Most of those young men were drafted and then spit on when they came home. Part of my adolescence. The series is on my bucket list, though.
    Thank you for taking the time to read and leave a comment.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

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