Friday, June 17, 2016

A Son's Journey One Year Later

It was a year ago that I embarked on my famous journey to participate in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund's Memory Day Ceremony held across from "The Wall" in Washington D.C. I had never been on a more significant journey filled with both awe and sorrow. It was there on that hot steamy Saturday morning that I inducted my late father Luis Eduardo Rosas-Luca Sr. into the VVMF Virtual Honor Roll. As the sole family representative and only son, it was a duty of utmost importance that I attend and bestow this honor for my late father who had served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1966.
It has been year this weekend since I stood on that grass when I took this photo of the 300 families that were in attendance. It was very hot & humid with rain appearing here and there. In a sense, the overcast during the ceremony was fitting for in a sense it reflected both my happiest times and the complicated relationship I had with my father. The war in Vietnam had long passed yet the echoes of the war lived on through him and in unexpected ways through me.By accepting the connection to Agent Orange linking my father's death and my own health problems and thus further by extension that of my children's complications, the truth has set us free. There is no longer blame or the "Why Me?" or the fists waving at some unseen god's indifference to our sufferings. Both the problem and the responsibility is entirely man made and man owned. The important thing to know is that it was not our fault nor our fathers who were exposed to this toxin that damaged their genes before they brought us into the world after their tours ended. For the time being, there is no medical help or proper way to connect the toxin to our own complications that any government agency or medical insurance company will validate thus we are on our own. And while there is nothing that can be done for those of us carrying the multitude of ailments inherited by Agent Orange, we must all find our way to soldier on. In one sense I am grateful to know this community of sorts comprised of Vietnam Veterans and their families. I am grateful to know that I was not the only one who had a complex relationship with a war we did not fight that raged within our father's psyche. Knowing the truth has given me the freedom to learn, and to respect the man like I never knew before while he was alive. While much of the war may be never truly understood and its lessons lost on future generations, it is up to us the children of this war to carry on the legacy and honor our fathers who fought bravely on behalf of the unqualified against the unfortunate for an ungrateful nation. In this task, we shall never waiver nor shall we ever forget. 

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