A Sort of Poem Piece by Vietnam Veteran Richard McKechan
(Editor’s note: Agent Orange–manufactiured and developed by Dow Chemical and Monsanto. Courtesy of Quilt Poems.)
As a result of contact with Agent Orange, I have contracted
Diabetes Mellitus Type 2,
Coronary Artery Disease,
Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) in three limbs
(V/A denied the fourth limb)
combined for an 80% disability compensation
granted by the Department of Veterans Affairs
because the ailments were finally found to be service connected
due to the United States military’s use of Agent Orange
in the Republic of Viet Nam.
God only knows what else that stuff is doing to me.
I’ll no doubt find out when the next ailment creeps up and attacks.
They sprayed the herbicide on and around every firebase, personnel included.
Helicopters would fly over, soak us and everything else with the chemical.
Insects would swarm so bad you could hardly see.
Even then I wondered what that stuff was doing to us if it was irritating the bugs that bad.
The ailments that it has caused in me have radically changed my life.
It still amazes me that after all the near misses and close calls,
my own government did more damage to me than the enemy did.
That, I think is what really pisses me off the most.