Growing up in central Minnesota in a small family, you realize how important family is to you. So when you lose one of these family members, it's a hard hit. You soon realize that blood is blood and that sometimes it is the only thing that matters. During the beginning of this past spring, I found out that my uncle Eager at age 62 had bone cancer. At first you think, yeah 62 is getting up there in age and things start to break down. But my uncle was not at all in bad shape. This was a man that still took trips camping and went out canoeing in the boundary waters. But with bone cancer everything changed. His weight went from 210 at his height down to 135 at his worst. To give you an idea of what he looked like, he looked like a man that just was rescued from Auschwitz during World War II. When standing next to his death bed, I wondered how many years he would have had left if what happened in Vietnam would have been prevented. .
In 1967 to 1968, the US forces were taking heavy casualties because of the Vietnamese guerilla warfare in the jungle. Trying to gain some kind of upper edge on the Vietnamese attacks, the US decided to deploy a toxin called agent orange. Agent Orange was two herbicides mixed that were used to destroy jungle and vegetation to decrease the chance of enemy sneak attack on US Forces. Well, it was successful in killing vegetation, but it was also successful in giving over 2.5 million veterans various defects including skin disorders, heart conditions, and cancer. My uncle was among these. My uncle was in .
charge of a loading crew on a C130 cargo plain. He was exposed to Agent Orange either by transporting it or exposed to it when they sprayed it around the air strips to clear vegetation. The conflict in all of this is did the government know the effects before they sprayed it, and why did they deny that it caused ailment for so long? Being a history nut, I knew what Agent Orange was before my uncle got it, but never dreamed that it would impact my life like it did.