Order of the Silver Rose

Next to the Civil War, (562,150), WWII (408,306) and WWI (116,708) the Vietnam War suffered the 4 th highest combat casualty death in our nations history at 58,479 and the longest of any war. Fought in the jungles of Southeast Asia, dense foliage was the greatest asset to the enemy in gorilla warfare. As a result, the United States employed the use of a defoliant known as Agent Orange. Over 20 million gallons were sprayed in the air turning dense jungles into moonlike landscape, killing all vegetation it came into contact with. Unfortunately, and unknown at the time, it also killed more human beings than those that died in combat and is still killing servicemen who served in the theatre along with their children today. Liver, Prostrate, Respiratory and skin cancers are the most predominant developments including leukemia, gum disease and multiple my Loma. Over 2.5 million service men and women served in Vietnam. Over 600,000 deaths are attributed to Agent Orange and Vietnam veterans are now dieing at a rate of over 350 per day.

There are over 42 known types of cancer caused directly from Agent Orange including Spina Bifida that is passed down from infected veterans to their offspring still to this day. Of all veterans who served in the armed forces from 1965-1975, in all the cases of those developing diabetes, 95% had served in Vietnam. Despite the fact more veterans have died as a result of Agent Orange than the total of all combat casualties, no veteran who contracted AO related illness or diseases has ever been awarded the Purple Heart even if resulting in death.

The Order of The Silver Rose, is a medal awarded to Vietnam veterans who contracted AO related illness and diseases. Over 35% were presented posthumously. The mission of the Silver Rose is two prong; 1) To create awareness of the need for medical checkups to all those exposed (which due to toxin carried in the air includes anyone who stepped foot on Vietnam soil or served in offshore fleets) and 2) to honor those who served, suffer/ed and sacrificed during the war and are ineligible for the Purple Heart.

History of the Silver Rose

Having served one tour in Vietnam, Chief Frank Davis retired from the military in 1969. After a clean bill of health and clear chest X-rays in August of 1996, on November 1 st just 3 months later in preparation for rotor cuff surgery, a tumor already the size of a grapefruit was discovered. Agent Orange cancer developed at a phenomenal speed that placed him in his deathbed 3 months later. The family applied for the Purple Heart since service in Vietnam and Agent Orange exposure was diagnosed as the cause only to find he was ineligible. The family didn’t know how to break it to him, but he was dismayed to say the least. While he lay in ICU during his final moments in life, not so much as a single flower was allowed due to oxygen at bedside. His daughter purchased the next best thing in the gift shop, a plastic rose, coated with silver. Recalling her father’s death, Mary Elizabeth said, “All I wanted was $7.50 worth of silk and brass to say that he died for his country. Just a line on his DD 214 to show his great grandchildren what a quiet hero is. He wasn’t good enough for a Purple Heart, but he was good enough for a Silver Rose so I made my own medal”. The Chief was tickled, smiled at his death and said “I’d rather have this Silver Rose than all of the Purple Hearts in the Pentagon”. You can go to our website at www.silverrose.org and see the Chiefs name and the thousands of others who have been awarded the Silver Rose Medal ever since.

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