Most people can agree that the best part of the Fourth of July is seeing vibrant fireworks thunderously explode into the night’s sky. They are used to celebrate and honor the military veterans who have fought for our nation’s independence. However, the nonprofit organization, called Military with PTSD, reminds Americans that fireworks can create stress and bring back combat memories for military vets.
Last year, Military with PTSD sent 4,372 yard signs to veterans who requested them so that their neighbors could be more aware and hopefully respectful when participating in the holiday’s festivities.
Experts say fireworks can trigger a myriad of reactions including “becoming more alert and vigilant” and “even flashbacks” in some combat veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Shawn Gourley of Military with PTSD says, “We don’t want to stop fireworks. No veteran who served this country would ever want to stop fireworks. What we’re aiming for with the signs is a courtesy heads up.
A veteran even explained to NBC, “I’m going to pop my own fireworks. But when you get woken up at two, three o’clock in the morning, it brings back those memories.”
As Americans who deeply care about the lives of our U.S. veterans who fought for our country overseas, we should respect their wishes and do everything in our power to ensure we do not cause them anymore sleepless nights and distress. This one simple act out of respect is the least we can do to show our gratitude.