A Permanent Mark: Agent Orange in America and Vietnam

In 1999, I watched my mother, Janet, become a bride for the second time in her life. In 2003, I watched her become a widow for the second time — because of Agent Orange. My stepfather, Bob Macher, was a quiet, down-to-Earth man who died from non-Hodgkins lymphoma because he was exposed to Agent Orange decades earlier in the Vietnam War.

I decided to make a film about Bob. It bothered me that a kind, quiet, average guy could suffer this fate and then slip away without any acknowledgment. As I embarked on making the film, I discovered there are many Bobs — hundreds of thousands of American veterans just like him. And there are even more Vietnamese people who have suffered for the same reason.

A Permanent Mark shows how both the Americans and the Vietnamese have taken this terrible experience and transmuted it into something positive through their desire to heal and forgive. We must remember our history and demand more from our government and our corporations. And no matter what, we can share our stories with each other and show that what unites us is stronger than what divides us.

 

Holly Million
Director, A Permanent Mark