While many most of us look forward to the flashes and sounds of 4th of July fireworks, some veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder may not be around when the shows start.
Some veterans have traumatic memories or nightmares when they hear the sudden sound of firecrackers.
Jefferson Cityâ??s Mark Brummitt spent several months in Afghanistan. Brummitt has PTSD and said loud noises during the 4th of July holiday give him mild panic attacks and flashbacks to his time in the Middle East.
Brummitt said, â??As opposed to when I was in the military, now it is a trigger mechanism to send you back into a survival mode.â??
Veterans who fought for our countryâ??s freedom can almost feel unpatriotic if they do not celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks. Columbiaâ??s Derrick Jenson has mixed feelings about the smell of sulfur and the sounds of explosions this holiday weekend. He said they bring back unpleasant memories from his 3, 7-month tours in Iraq.
Jensen said, â??I realize that itâ??s not anything serious. I know that Iâ??m safe where Iâ??m at, but I am very leery of it. I donâ??t purchase fireworks, nor do I shoot them off anymore. With time because it has been a while, Iâ??ve gotten a lot better. I can actually deal with it a lot better now.â??
Jensen and Brummitt said fireworks bother them the most when they are awaken in the middle of the night. They said in a sleepy state, the terror is very real.
Jensen and Brummitt want people to be sensitive to veterans when using fireworks. Some of their neighbors have started celebrating early, with illegal fireworks. They have both jumped in bed when they heard the noise from M-80s and bottle rockets, which resemble the mortar fire they faced on many nights overseas.
Combat veterans are not the only people who suffer from PTSD.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 8 of every 100 Americans suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives.
Thatâ??s more than 5 million Americans every year.