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THE FOLLOWING WAS READ INTO THE HOUSE RECORD BY REP.  LANE  EVANS

"The Quilts of Tears" - Honoring Vietnam Veterans
and their loved ones who have suffered from Agent Orange

The loss and suffering of Vietnam veterans and their loved ones due to the use of Agent Orange is one of the sad legacies of the Vietnam War that continues to haunt our nation. Because of our nation’s use of herbicides during the war, tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans have died or live daily with the scars of disease. As any veteran will tell you, the scars of war are not just physical, but also emotional. Too many veterans and their loved ones live each day with the continuing pain of dealing with the loss and the illnesses caused by Agent Orange.

Next week, the "quilts of tears" will arrive in Washington, DC. This is an important event because the quilts tell many of the stories that need to be told about the devastation this tragedy has exacted on too many lives.

Recently, I received a letter from Ms. Jennie R. LeFevre, an Agent Orange widow, who eloquently describes her own experiences as well as the legacy left of broken soldiers and broken families. I believe it captures the essence of the Agent Orange tragedy as well as the costs that our nation continues to pay for a war that ended almost twenty-five years ago.

The quilts will arrive on the Mall on April 17 and will be available for viewing near the Vietnam Memorial. They will also be on display on Memorial Day on the banks of the Reflecting Pool. I urge my colleagues to visit this moving and unforgettable memorial. The letter from Ms. LeFevre follows.

 

" The Quilts Of Tears"

Agent Orange has been interwoven into the fabric of the lives of many
Vietnam Veterans and their families. To tell their story, the" Quilts of
Tears" project was created. It is to show the world the suffering and pain
that the Agent Orange Victims and their families have endured. Each block
in the "Quilts of Tears" reflect their struggles with life and death issues
of Agent Orange. Agent Orange has left invisible scars on the hearts and
minds of these victims and their families.

I have recently heard these words about Vietnam Veterans. The words are, "All
gave some, but some gave all". Such is the case of the thousands of who have
already lost their lives to the great tragedy Agent Orange, for they were
killed in Vietnam and didn’t know it. They were killed by the silent and
invisible bullet, Agent Orange. Their names do not appear on the black
granite Wall in Washington, DC, the "Quilts of Tears" are their Wall.

The "Quilts of Tears" was founded by Jennie R. Le Fevre of Shady Side, MD,
Founder and President of the Agent Orange Victims and Widows Support Network.
The quilts are a Tribute, Memorial and Honor to the Vietnam Agent Orange
Victims, both living and dead. Each block represents a victim, and they show
the victim’s unit in Nam, years served in Nam and the nature of the victim’s
health problems relating to Agent Orange. At present, there are ten quilts,
each measuring 80 by 100 inches, each quilt contains 20 blocks. At displays,
the quilts are hung on walls or spread on the ground with walking space
between each one to allow viewing from any angle." "The Quilt of Tears"
project is mentioned throughout the Internet on many of the Vietnam Veterans
websites and e-mail forums and indeed the "Quilts of Tears" has a website of
it’s own as well.

Mothers, sisters, and other family members have adorned the blocks with their
loved one’s picture, unit patches, military emblems, medals, awards, etc.,
etc. The quilts were displayed for the first time on the Mall in Washington
DC several years ago. They have since traveled to a quilt show in N.J.,
several Vietnam Veteran’s Reunions in St. Louis, Mo., and were also displayed
at the Vietnam Veteran Reunion in Kokomo, Ind. They were on display a year
ago Veterans Day in the Rotunda of the Utah State Capitol. The quilts are
called the "Quilts of Tears" because many tears have been shed for these
victims." The Quilts of Tears" already have letters of acknowledgment and
endorsement from both the Agent Orange Coordinating Council and Vietnam
Veterans of America, Inc., headquarters in Washington, DC.
I am an Agent Orange widow myself, my late husband, a veteran of both the
Korean and Vietnam War, died with cancer in ten parts of his body.

Unfortunately, the VA states the cancer he had was not related to his
exposure to Agent Orange so there I am not compensated. I believe Agent
Orange did cause his death. I am a member of the Agent Orange Coordinating
Council, chaired by the late Admiral Zumwalt and have been on the Council for
seven years. I made a block for Admiral’s son with the words inscribed "A
Great Warrior Son" which Admiral Zumwalt requested to be put on his son’s
block. The block is now a part of the Quilts of Tears.

"The Quilts of Tears" are the Wall for the Agent Orange Victims. Their
stories need to be mentioned for all of the suffering and pain they have
endured in love and honor for their country, the quilts do just that. One has
only to look at the quilts to see for themselves what has happened to these
victims. After the display in Kokomo, I received a letter from a veteran who
stated the quilts were the most moving piece of art he had seen since the
Wall in Washington, DC. A veteran with Agent Orange problems saw the display
in Washington, he said he had no one to make a block for him, I told him
that I would do it for him. Later he sent me his Purple Heart to put on the
block. One of his prized possessions, he insists that it be placed on his
block.

These quilts are very dear to the hearts of the Vietnam Veterans, the Agent
Orange Victims, and their families. Over Memorial Day weekend last year, a
big burly veteran looked at the quilts beside the Reflecting pool, walked a
short distance away, fell to his knees and burst into tears. When I went to
him and hugged him, he asked "Am I next?". The next display of the quilts
will be on Monday April 17th, 10:00 a m. at the " In Memory" ceremony near the
Wall, weather permitting, and they will be on the banks of the Reflecting
Pool over Memorial Day weekend. I invite you and the general public to come
and view them.

Recently, I was at an Agent Orange meeting and another Agent Orange widow took
a pin off her blouse and put it on my sweater. The pin was a black heart
edged in gold, a jagged streak was across the heart to represent a broken
heart and in the center of the heart was an orange teardrop. Yes, our hearts
are broken for the Agent Orange Victims.

The late Admiral Elmo Zumwalt Jr. was a real friend and advocate for the
Agent Orange Victims and their families. May his memory and devotion to the
Agent Orange issue live on in our hearts forever. Those of us who are a part
of the Agent Orange struggle say "We will never allow the Agent Orange
Victims to be Forgotten".

Most Sincerely,

Jennie R. Le Fevre
Agent Orange Widow

 

"The Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange

Quilts of Tears Memorial on Tour."

2004 Quilt’s of Tears Display Schedule:



April 19- In Memory Day near the Wall in Washington D.C.

April 22, Shopping Mall,
Kissimmee , Fl

April 23, 24,25-
Vietnam Veterans Reunion Melbourne , Fla.

April 30, May 1,2-
Vietnam Veterans Reunion , Booneville, Ca

May 14,15,16-
St Louis . Mo in conjunction with the Vietnam Wall Experience

May 29,30- Banks of Reflecting Pool
Washington D.C.   , may be postponed due to the World War Two Memorial  dedication

June 4,5- Rockford, Ill, in conjunction with the Vietnam Wall Experience

Washington D.C.  Dedication of In Memory Plaque, no date set as yet

June 24, 25, 26- Cleveland, Ohio with the  Vietnam Wall Experience

July 2, 3, 4, Toledo, Ohio, in conjunction with the Vietnam Wall Experience

July 8 ,9, 10.
Buffalo . N.Y. in conjunction with the Vietnam Wall Experience

August 13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20- Caro, Mich, with another Moving Wall

August 27,28,29,- Columbus, Ohio, in conjunction with the Vietnam Wall Experience

September 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 - Spring Hill, Fl, MIA POW Day, with another Moving Wall, pending

October 22, 23, 24- Waco, Tex, in conjunction with  Vietnam Wall Experience

Nov 5,6,7- Huntsville, Tex, in conjunction with the Vietnam Wall Experience

Nov 12,13, 14- Tampa, Fl, in conjunction with the Vietnam Wall Experience

 


VIETNAM  VETERANS OF AMERICA MOURNS THE LOSS OF AGENT ORANGE ADVOCATE JENNIE  LEFEVRE    


VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
Press Release
September 13, 2004
No. 04-043 
Contact:
Mokie Porter
(301) 585-4000 Ext. 146
(301)  996-0901

VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA MOURNS THE LOSS OF  AGENT ORANGE ADVOCATE JENNIE  LEFEVRE

(Washington, D.C.) – Jennie  LeFevre, a nationally known advocate for Vietnam
veterans and their  families suffering health problems due to exposure to
Agent Orange in  the Vietnam War, died September 7 in Shady Side, Maryland. “
Vietnam  Veterans of America is deeply saddened by the news of the death of 
Jennie LeFevre, founder of The Quilt of Tears,” said Thomas H. Corey,  the VVA’s
National President. “After the death of her husband from Agent  Orange-related
cancer, Jennie was a tenacious advocate for those still  suffering the effects
of the Vietnam War.” 


The Quilt Of Tears is a collection of individual panels, stitched  together
to form a quilt, with each panel representing a victim of Agent  Orange. Panels
feature photos and memorabilia of those who have fallen  victim to the
long-term effects of exposure to Agent Orange and other  toxic herbicides while
serving in the armed forces in Vietnam. Jennie  LeFevre displayed the quilt at
veterans’ gatherings and with the  traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial. “People ask me, when  am I going to stop,” she said recently. “Never. I’
ll never quit—no,  never—so long as I can help people heal.” 
“Jennie will be profoundly missed by all those whose lives she  touched with
the sheer force of her will,” Corey said. “She was a  magnificent woman who
spoke out loudly and strongly for Vietnam  veterans.” 


Jennie will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on September 28  next to
her husband Jerry. She will be interred with the first quilt she  made.


Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the  nation's only congressionally
chartered veterans service organization  dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era
veterans and their families.   VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one
generation of veterans  abandon  another.”

 


Bruce Milnes Memorial Site




Jo Brandt Memorial Site




Sheila Snyder's Memorial for Jennie