Skip to comments.July 4th Fireworks Are Really Tough for Some Veterans With PTSD
Posted on 07/02/2014 6:12:20 PM PDT by nickcarraway
You are going to be hearing a lot of loud, concussive noises over the next few days, whether or not fireworks are legal where you live. For most of us, these explosions may be an occasional annoyance, but overall are part of the fun and spirit of Independence Day celebrations. For some veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, though, they can be a nightmare.
It isn't any great mystery why, given how frequently extremely loud noises accompany traumatic combat experience. ABC News reported on this shortly before last year's Fourth:
Samuel Askins spent 545 days as an infantryman in the U.S. Army in Iraq, witnessing numerous firefights and suffering a concussion in an explosion that eventually ended with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.
"It ruined my life," Askins said, adding that he tried to kill himself with alcohol and drugs because of the panic attacks and despair that followed him back to the United States and resulted in his retirement from active duty.
"Even with my recovery, the fireworks will kill me this week. The [fireworks] stands are all open," Askins said. "Just last week, I went fishing and I put the boat in the water when a cherry bomb exploded. I fell out of the boat.
"I will have to deal with this for the rest of my life," he said.
A post on this subject to a military PTSD support group on Facebook has some sad personal testimonials in the comments section. One spouse of an afflicted veteran wrote:
My husband and I always try to make it out of town and up into the mountains at a state park that doesn't allow fireworks. Otherwise I don't want to know what would happen....thank you for sharing Justin's perspective it definitely gives insight to what they go through and why my husband is so adamant about leaving dodge. God Bless and stay safe all of you.
This is doubly sad, of course, given that July 4th is partly about celebrating veterans and that there isn't much affected veterans can do but try to get away from those celebrations.
My mom was a foreign national from WW 2. She could not ever handle fireworks.
Very understandable. Scares the be-Jesus out of my dogs.
I’m sure it is tough. It’s been tough on every dog I’ve owned too. Everyone is a special case? It’s barbaric loud and obnoxious. Now it’s illegal almost everywhere. It’s overregated. Ban fireworks? I hope not.
The theme of ending firework displays for the 4th seems to be front and center with the Obama/MSM front.
The admin plans to use environmental laws to end them.
Either ban fireworks or offer affected veterans a weekend getaway to Canada. This is actually the best time of year to visit Canada. They are in their six week “frost free” period.
God Bless our Military! Hey, my fellow brothers -in-arms, it’ll be tough for awhile, it’s been over 40 years since I was dodging /wincing at incoming in Vietnam. Just remember the 4th of July is a tribute to America’s independence, thanks to you. I wish you a speedy recovery. God Bless you and God Bless the United States of America!
I remember being a kid growing up in the early 70’s. For quite a some time you definitely needed to be wise about making noise if ‘Nam vets were around. Backfires, firecrackers or any other loud pops and they’d at least duck if not hit the dirt, and they were not happy when they got up.
First of all, my bonafides: Rifle platoon leader; support platoon leader; and recon platoon leader. Infantry branch. 14 and a half months in the Nam.
I think everyone needs to man up.
What the hell has has happened to this country?
Major trigger for flashbacks.
Whatever the reason one has PTSD, avoiding events that cause anxiety is a big factor in recovery.
I served 17 months in combat in Vietnam and I still find lots of change because I stare at the ground in front of me looking for mines (while scanning the treelines) and loud pops send my head down into my shoulders. I don't supposed that will ever change.
Hey Bro, I spent a great part of my youth in Vietnam too. We need to support these kids, not condemn them. This IED shit is relatively new on the battlefield, it would scare the shit out of me. Have some compassion.
With the nature of their tour of duty I’d bet it’s more than PTSD. They likely also suffer Inner Ear Damage which can also trigger a bad startle reaction from certain sounds. The PTSD can be treated and often cured with therapy sessions. The Inner Ear damage can not thus it is life long. Their doctors need to do an extensive Vestibular work up including hearing test by a audiologist.
Thanks for helping make people aware of the issue.
I am not a vet, but grew up during the Vietnam era.
My draft numbers were high in ‘72 and ‘73, so I was not drafted.
Although I have watched about every war movie ever made, the one that affected me the most was Forrest Gump.
The combat scene when the rain ends in Vietnam, with the tracer bullets, sounds, people vaporizing with direct artillery blasts, made me very uncomfortable in the theater.
It was no longer a funny movie.
And I am not even a vet.
I can only imagine what a combat vet goes through.
We certainly owe them some courtesy to have space to deal with this.
It stays with you an entire lifetime.
Only now, do I understand why the WW2 vets I knew growing up didn’t brag about their exploits. They were heroes, but they felt the real heroes were the ones that didn’t make it home.
I know that a lot of dogs panic.
Now the war on the 4th of July.
It took nearly 5 years therapy for the PTSD and the other part the part where noises set me off like the cartoon cat being barked at that hugs the ceiling is still there. It is a separate issue but it compounded the PTSD. The two together can be miserable and often the sensory damage portion left overlooked or not diagnosed.
I’m a Vietnam veteran. If I know the fireworks are coming, after the first one I can tolerate them...The unknown explosions still creep me out for a few seconds...