Firework & Veterans

Many of us are unaware of the harmful effects fireworks can have on our veterans. Fireworks bring back memories of combat and can trigger flashbacks for soldiers. It is estimated that 60-80% of our nation’s veterans suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD. The sounds of explosions from fireworks can bring back memories of combat which in turn can bring on PTSD symptoms. Although the banning of fireworks will probably never happen, there are other ways we can show our compassion for those that have defended our nation. 

What You Can Do

1. Consider viewing public firework displays instead of setting ones off in your neighborhood.
2. Talk with Veterans in your neighborhood to see if any particular fireworks are upsetting.
3. Let neighbors know what time you will be setting off fireworks and for what length of time.
4. Refrain from setting off fireworks at unexpected times during the day.
5. Choose a location that will be least likely to disturb vets.
6. Minimize the amount of fireworks that you set off.
More information can be found at 
AssociatedContent (New Year's Eve Fireworks & Veterans with PTSD)

Personal Accounts

•Army Specialist Chase Brown talks about a PTSD flashback on the fourth of July:
“I didn’t really understand what was going on around me because in my mind I wasn’t here. In my I was in Iraq. My wife and I and a couple of our neighbors were standing outside, just talking. Some of those artillery rounds started being fired from down the road. The flash from the RPG’s, all that was coming back. Death destruction, the smells, sights, everything. I remember coming in and grabbing my keys and that was it. I don’t remember anything else until my wife was actually able to get me inside.” To read more, please visit 
Banned Fireworks Give Midlands Soldier a PTSD Flashback

•Jacob Lobermeier Platoon Leader in Combat Welfare discusses fireworks and veterans:
“These large explosions that can happen in the middle of the night or when they’re sleeping can really ruin their weekend. It’s the little everyday struggles that can make a big difference. Being next to like a diesel truck, smelling that exhaust reminds me of waiting to go on patrol with our humveys. They’re memories that will never go away but can easily surface for some on Independence Day.” To read more please visit Fireworks & Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 

•Ken Kalish served as a gunner on river patrol in Vietnam writes:
Those of us who've been in combat don't like to make a big deal out of it, but next time you're in the park watching fireworks, take a look around. A lot of veterans -- as patriotic as they come -- won't be there. All of the pretty designs and crackling showers are fine. Most combat veterans can appreciate the beauty of a parachute flare dancing in the battlefield's night air, or the distant tracers spraying brilliant fountains of orange and green during a nighttime firefight. Those so-called "Salutes," though -- they're too much like the real thing. I don't need to relive the terror of incoming shells, the hot blast of mines, the squeeze-the-breath-out-of-you concussion of a near miss. Those are sensations that used to come with a buddy's violent loss of life or limbs. I can do without the vivid reminders, thank you. To read more please visit Why won't see more veterans at the fireworks show

To Learn More about PTSD and how it affects our veterans please visit the website for the United States Department of Veteran Affairs National Center for PTSD