A lot of cities and towns will be having fireworks displays, while Arizonans may set off legal fireworks in their own neighborhoods this Fourth of July.
However, one charity is concerned that might be a problem for our military veterans. The group “Military with PTSD” says the sound of fireworks going off this time of year can put veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder — or PTSD — into a state of panic.
That’s why the group is offering signs to veterans that they can place in front of their house telling people that a combat veteran is living there and asking them to be courteous with fireworks.
A picture of a veteran with one of the signs already has over 144,000 likes on the group’s Military with PTSD page on Facebook.
“That’s wonderful that they’re doing this,” U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) said. “This is wonderful news.”
It might help people like Dave Campbell of Phoenix. He served in the Army during Operation Desert Storm over 20 years ago.
“I spent nine months out there and I enjoyed it,” Campbell said. “I loved serving my country. Every male in my family is a veteran, so I wanted to keep up with the family tradition.”
“Except for the PTSD,” he said.
That has been hell. Campbell has nightmares regularly and has even been arrested.
“I ended up in a padded jail cell because I lost my mind driving,” Campbell said. “I was having a PTSD episode. DPS pulled me over and I started yelling, ‘I’m going to kill and rip your throats out.'”
Campbell was released from jail and is now getting help. He has attended “Healing Journey” retreats for veterans at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Paradise Valley.
Sinema said that noises that might not be a big deal to most people, but can be disastrous for people with PTSD.
“Loud noises like a tire popping, or fireworks, can really be upsetting and distressing, and actually return veterans back into a state of panic or extreme stress,” said Sinema. She hopes that you’ll keep that in mind if you set off fireworks in your neighborhood this weekend.
Find out more about “Military with PTSD” signs at www.militarywithptsd.org.