It only happened by chance. Someone shared this story on my personal Facebook feed and suddenly I felt awfully stupid.
The photo was of a veteran holding up a sign. It was so simple, yet it never occurred to me. In an instant I realized how much I take our veterans for granted.
The sign reads:
Please Be Courteous With Fireworks.
Some think the signs are offensive because they put a damper on the fun.
“Negative. It’s counter to everything we stood, fought for to hamper patriotic celebration or impose views upon anyone taking part,” one person commented on Twitter.
I think most folks will find that they can celebrate without causing these heroes any more anguish.
What these veterans are asking for is just a little consideration on a very special day. July 4th marks Independence Day for Americans each year, but for thousands of vets, the fireworks can be a trigger for difficult memories. For the many vets dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, the sound of the fireworks popping is all too similar to the sound of bullets.
PTSD is a serious condition many soldiers find it unmanageable; others only find solace with the help of service dogs.
On a holiday meant to honor those who fought for our Independence in 1776, we must be considerate of those who fight for our freedoms today.
See how fireworks affect PTSD sufferers below, and SHARE this story to spread awareness about this very important issue facing veterans. After all, they could be your neighbors!
"The sensitivity here is that if you know that your next-door neighbor served ... and you're planning to have a fireworks display in your backyard, it's probably the thoughtful thing to do to let them know," Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen told USA Today.
"[The sound of the fireworks] could send somebody into a very painful, stressful, emotional experience remembering a firefight or a buddy who was killed," she said.
Studies show that 7–20% of the veterans and troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD. When you consider that more than 2.5 million have served, the picture becomes all too clear.
July 4th can be torture for many vets. “Some go camping to get away from the city and the fireworks,” Shawn Gourley, co-founder of the non-profit group Military with PTSD told the Washington Post. “Other just put some heavy-duty headphones on.”
“The purpose of these signs is not to stop fireworks, no veteran wants that,” Gourley said. “It’s the days leading up to and the days leading away from July 4th, when it’s unexpected, that’s what the problem is.”
If you see one of these signs please notify the veteran if and when you will be using fireworks so that they can take the proper measures. That's all you have to do to be respectful!
For more information on how fireworks can trigger vets with PTSD watch the video below!
SHARE to spread this important message!