home 1981
March 14: Veteran Marine Jim Hopkins "crashes his jeep through the glass doors and lobby of the Wadsworth VA Hospital" and fires at pictures of then-President Ronald Reagan, "screaming that he [is] not being given the medical care needed and that his brains [is] 'being destroyed by Agent Orange.'" After spending time in the Los Angeles County Jail, he is transferred to a VA inpatients treatment and after his release begins a lecture series for veterans that consider him a hero.
Hopkins dies on May 17, 1981; the cause of death is unknown. Vietnam War veterans take over a hall in the VA Hospital to protest their treatment by the government.
The hunger strike, which includes nurses and a biker group, ends on June 10 when veterans are evicted. Three months after the demonstration, one participant commits suicide by jumping from the eleventh floor of the Los Angeles Hilton.
Two years later in 1983 after the 21 day hunger strike, veterans report an increase in attention and knowledge about PTSD by VA counselors but also indicate the VA has been slow to assist into reporting the effects of exposure to Agent Orange.
menu bar for previous and next entry
previous previous