Voices of Agent Orange

Vietnam Veterans And Their Families Share Stories of Exposure, Illness And Frustration

As part of our Reliving Agent Orange series, ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot have been recording the voices of those impacted by the herbicide, which contained the toxic chemical dioxin.

Last year, ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot asked Vietnam veterans and their relatives to help us look into the multi-generational impact of Agent Orange. The project started with a questionnaire, which has now generated more than 6,000 stories from vets and their family members.

Accompanying our articles on the topic have been short, powerful video vignettes that allow readers to hear the voices of those who participated in the investigation. Below you’ll find each of the videos, pieced together using our recorded interviews, historical footage and the veteran’s or family member’s own pictures. We were struck by their passion, their pain and their willingness to share their tales with others.

‘It’s time for the VA to step up and correct this wrong’

‘I probably wouldn’t have had kids had I known’

‘As a parent that was the darkest days of our lives’

‘I think he thinks the government fucked him all up’

‘You have pancreatic cancer, Stage IV and it’s very, very bad’

‘Agent Orange was a ghost’

‘Found him to be full of cancer’

‘It’s like sticking your head into a bottle of Roundup and gargling’

‘Drenched in defoliant’

‘My life changed almost two years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer’

‘I had no way of proving it because I didn’t receive orders to be boots on the ground’

‘The ships are going up and down sucking this stuff in’

‘The Agent Orange would just, it would kill things’

‘That friggin’ ship was contaminated for the next 100 years as far as I’m concerned’

‘If we took the bag to Congress they wouldn’t want to be messin’ with it’

Terry Parris Jr. is ProPublica's community editor. Prior to joining ProPublica, he led digital production and engagement at WDET 101.9 FM, NPR’s affiliate in Detroit.

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