Agent Orange Symposium and Veterans Memorial Honors the Forgotten

Dan Gannon stands near the Iowa Vietnam War Monument where he helped place a plaque honoring soldiers who returned from war but died as a result of their service. Michael Zamora/The Register

Dan Gannon, a Vietnam veteran who has triumphed in the battlefields of PTSD, is now fighting to bring honor to Iowa soldiers who have died from injuries and illnesses related to their service.  Veterans who died as a result of PTSD related suicide or Agent Orange related illnesses are getting recognized on memorials in Iowa.

Before Gannon’s involvement, memorials included names of soldiers who died in combat only.  It was difficult to calculate how many veterans could have suffered premature deaths from the aftereffects of the war, and as a result were not honored as casualties of war.

A new Iowa Vietnam War In-Memory Memorial Plaque will feature the names of soldiers who were forgotten off the original Vietnam War Monument in Des Moines.

Recently, there was a Vietnam Veterans of America symposium in Des Moines involving veterans’ families to build support for the generational effects of Agent Orange. The Agent Orange Committee of the VVA’s goal is to push Congress to pass a bill to increase research into the toxin’s effects on Veterans’ offspring.

The VVA’s Director of Communications, Mokie Porter, said, “A lot of these vets and families weren’t aware that it was causing birth defects. At the first town hall meeting a lot of light bulbs were going off.”

In addition to the petition to increase research for veterans and their families, the monument is also a means of including those whose deaths were forgotten off of the original memorials. Gannon is driven to honor and memorialize those veterans that died from fighting in Vietnam, to those who are still living with toxins that may have been inherited through their families.

Source: The Des Moines Register

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