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He met two young Vietnamese sisters, Huong and Giang, whose father had fought in the war.
While the girls were born in a time of peace, they suffered the consequences of the wartime spraying.
Today, the village is run largely by the Veterans Association of Vietnam, a group of Vietnamese vets who provide health care, education and vocational training to victims and their families.
Blackburn remembers unloading barrels of Agent Orange from ships in Cam Ranh Bay. It was only when he returned to the United States that he learned how dangerous the chemical was.
Through the thick smoke, the fisherman grins a toothless smile.
In his seventy years, he says, he has never heard two cricket songs that sound alike. “Now we are home, but home is strange,” Blackburn wrote in 1985 in a poem about returning veterans.
Flashbacks would hit him at odd times, interrupting the class he was teaching—he would have to leave and find refuge under a tree outside his classroom where he could wait for the memory to pass.
A whiff of smoke would take him back to Bến Cát, outside of Saigon, where he served in the infantry before he was transferred north to Cam Ranh Bay.
Both were severely disabled and had difficulty breathing.