The 4th of July is here. Americans want to celebrate national freedom, and many will. Barbeque, family, friends, and fireworks are the national tradition. However, the last part, FIREWORKS, are not easy for our country’s veterans to handle each year. My father used to dislike fireworks. I never really noticed while growing up, because he wanted to be a good dad and be festive with us. I imagine that he would have an extra glass of wine to help him ‘take the edge off’ before the exploding festivities would begin. He later said he would wince every time he heard a loud sound because it reminded him of the warzone. http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/jun/27/when-fireworks-stir-memories-of-war/
Two years ago on July 4th, I heard from a friend who is a two tour veteran of the Iraq war, and he ‘joked’ that he was going to spend the evening under the bed ‘comforting his frightened dog’. I remember him saying how ironic it is that the tradition created to honor our freedom, freaks out the same people who have fought for that freedom.
For those who have experienced personal loss due to war, as a veteran, family member or friend, A “patriotic” day such as July 4 can trigger mixed emotions, including sadness and anger. This morning I heard from “The Waiting Wife”, the wife of a 4 tour veteran of the Iraq war. She has had an extremely hard time of it since her husband returned from the warzone a year and a half ago. Her sad and angry tone this morning was noticible when she txted “Somehow, I don’t feel the same about this day. I don’t feel freedom at all.”
The link below describes how PTSD is very treatable. Part of healing from PTSD (learning to deal with it more effectively) is to create a New Normal after deployment. So, as an American, honor this day in the ways that you enjoy, and, please be respectful of the very people who have sacrificed for this privilege. If there is a veteran or family member in your circle for today’s festivities, ask him/her how they can feel most comfortable. They are not likely to speak up themselves, so be a good American and offer to adjust the fun so they can be ok. http://www.stripes.com/news/va-s-message-ptsd-is-very-treatable-1.182113
Strangely, due to the extreme heatwave for much of the country, apparently many towns and cities have cancelled their firework festivities. I can only imagine that a number of veterans are secretly relieved.
On this day I think of my veteran father. I remember his nervousness on this holiday. And, I apologize to all those American veterans who feel they want to hide under the bed today. Personally, I will not be exploding fireworks.