Fourth of July fireworks may spark painful memories for veterans

JACKSON, Miss.– A celebration of independence can cause some painful memories for veterans living with PTSD.

An estimated 11 to 20 percent of veterans suffer from the disorder and July 4th could trigger something serious, but now one initiative could help.

WJTV’S News Channel 12’s Lucy Dieckhaus talked with a veteran about a new push for relief.

Independence Day can spark thoughts of barbecue, family, and fireworks.

But for some of those men and women who protect our American freedoms. Fireworks can trigger other memories.

“They also sound very much like a lot of different artillery or gunfire going off, and so they remind them of their traumas,” Judith Lyons said.

Judith Lyons treats trauma recovery patients at the Sonny Montgomery V.A. hospital in Jackson, and Jeremy Rawls is one of those veterans.

He has mixed reviews about the combat veteran signs popping up in yards nationwide.

“I think it is 50/50 because I do know of some individuals that it would definitely help,” said Rawls.

Both Rawls and Lyons agree inviting veterans to July 4th festivities can help ease the pain.

“It would be great to let that veteran know and let them know about what time they are planning to do that because the surprise factor is what startles people,” said Lyons.

”If they have that sign out, it would be nice if you stopped by and said hey we are going to shoot fireworks at a certain time,” said Rawls.

Lyons says just letting vets know what you plan to do shows you care.

“We understand and appreciate that you served, but it’s not over for you. It’s still hard for you,” Lyons said.

For more information about how to find a sign and support local veterans, click here.


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