The New York State Silver Rose Veterans Service Certificate recognizes New Yorkers who served in the Armed Forces and during their service were exposed to the dioxin or phenoxy herbicides, more commonly known as “Agent Orange.”
The New York State Legislature passed the law creating the Silver Rose Veterans Service Certificate in 2018 and it was signed into Law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
The Silver Rose Veterans Certificate honors the sacrifices of veterans who have suffered from the effects of tactical herbicides known collectively as Agent Orange. The New York State Silver Rose Certificate is available to current state citizens or individuals who were state citizens during the period when their exposure occurred and who are suffering from the toxic effects of these herbicides.
The New York State Silver Rose Certificate is an acknowledgement of their enormous sacrifice and a symbol of awareness of the dangers of Agent Orange.
Veterans who have suffered from the effects of tactical herbicides such as Agent Orange are eligible to receive the New York State Silver Rose Veterans Service Certificate under the new law. The designation may also be awarded posthumusly on behalf of the veteran to next of kin.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy authorized “Operation Ranch Hand,” the code name for the United States Air Force's herbicide program in Vietnam. A number of herbicidal agents were used, including, most infamously, Agent Orange. Approximately 20 million gallons of the herbicide were used to help U.S. forces by defoliating forest areas that concealed the enemy and destroying the crops that provided their food. As many as 2.6 million U.S. service members were exposed to the chemical.
The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes over 40 cancers and sicknesses, including diabetes, as Agent Orange related and service connected.
The Silver Rose has been adopted by some veterans groups as the symbol for veterans dealing with the impact of herbicide exposure incurred during their service. In creating this certificate the New York State Legislature honored this selection of a symbol by veterans.