July 4th Fireworks a Problem for Some Combat Veterans

For most Americans, a Fourth of July celebration is not complete without a parade, a cookout, and a nighttime sky filled with fireworks.  It is a day that we can come together to celebrate our freedom in this country.  While most will be celebrating, there is a group of veterans who will not be. That’s right – those who defended our freedom may not be a part of the festivities because of their hidden scars from their military service.

Veterans with PTSD can experience an onset of symptoms when confronted with stimuli that are similar to stressful in-service events.  This can include flashbacks to prior traumatic events or withdrawal from others and a loss of interest in activities.  Other times it can trigger hyper-arousal, which can take the form of being “jumpy” or “on edge”, excessive irritability, and outbursts of anger or violence.  This can result in physical symptoms as well, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, and even nausea.

Fireworks from the PTSD Perspective

Although most of us may never realize it, the loud explosions and bright flashes most enjoy about fireworks may trigger PTSD symptoms in unprepared combat veterans.  While no one wants to cause problems for these afflicted veterans, the problem arises because most of us simply do not understand the life of a PTSD veteran.  What is fun and harmless to us can be a dramatically stressful experience for them.  Unfortunately, few people are aware of this potential issue.  The good news is that a non-profit group is trying to change that and help us all consider the needs of these combat veterans.  Military With PTSD (www.facebook.com/MilitarywithPTSD @MilitarywPTSD) was founded by the wife of a veteran with PTSD.  Among other efforts to help veterans, this group has come up with a great idea to help veterans and their neighbors both have a great July 4th.

The solution is simple: a yard sign that says “A Combat Veteran Lives Here.  Please Be Courteous With Your Fireworks.”  The wording is intentional.  The signs don’t ask neighbors to refrain from using fireworks; even most PTSD veterans will say they do not want to be the reason others cannot celebrate fully on the Fourth.  They fought hard for our freedom and want us to enjoy the day that commemorates it.  The sign simply asks neighbors to communicate with their combat veteran neighbor beforehand.  That way, they can prepare themselves or make other arrangements on that night.  Neighbors can tell the veteran what to expect and what time the fireworks will begin.  Some neighbors have even invited the veteran to join them in the celebration, which can work out fine once the veteran is expecting the fireworks and is not caught off guard.  It is not necessarily the event itself that causes the distress or flashbacks; it is the unexpected nature of those events.

July 4th is just another example of the different lives lived by PTSD veterans and their families.  Events that seem innocuous or even enjoyable to the rest of can be interpreted entirely differently by a veteran struggling with PTSD.  Because PTSD is invisible from the outside, many would never know a veteran was suffering from this condition unless they were told.  At Perkins Studdard, we represent a number of PTSD combat veterans and families in their fight with Veterans Affairs for the disability benefits they deserve.  We are proud to be of service to them, and through those relationships we have come to appreciate how the lives of these veterans and their families are changed forever by PTSD.

How We Can All Help PTSD Military Veterans

Enjoy the Fourth of July.  Celebrate.  But, take a moment to think about how that freedom was achieved and by whom.  If you do know a veteran with PTSD, let them know about Militarywithptsd.org and the signs they can get to make their Fourth a day of celebration rather than dread.  After all, their sacrifice continues long after their service ends.  It’s the least we can do to help.

From all of us at Perkins Studdard, Happy 4th of July.

Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims.  He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.

You can subscribe to his Veterans Disability channel on YouTube.

Rita BarnesRita Barnes
00:03 20 Jan 22
This is a great group of people who really care about your well being. They all treated me as though I was family and helped me with my work comp case in more ways than the average would have.Thank you Jason and Thank you Tina! For doing an awesome job.
Cortex ButlerCortex Butler
18:09 29 Dec 21
I am a Veteran of United States Air Force and was awarded my first 30% in 1996 and have been fighting for my rating for 26 years I came to Perkins and Studdard in 2019 while my mom was in a terrible incident and was given to much anesthesia and through GODS Grace she was spared her life, She is disabled since 2018 and I have been struggling with my life and issues and yet I didn’t call the law firm every 10 minutes or call being rude anytime, I mentioned this as I got to know Jessica more than just a phone call and Mr Studdard was always available when not working on other cases or in court, They always called back and Never had to do a call back, My Review is Simple in Life there peaks and valleys and it doesn’t stop because you have issues, Perkins & Studdard took my case in 2019 in 2021 I received my 100% from VA, I Was Never Rude, I was Never Promised Success, I Was Never Lied too and I was Always Treated with Respect, Friendliness, and Kindness the Real Stuff not a (Money Thing) If You want a firm that Cares about the Client and will work on your case even through a pandemic, Will not lie, will not promise anything will communicate your case and will Give you their Best ALWAYS THIS IS THE Best Law Firm for VETS HANDS DOWN Perkins and Studdard THERE IS NO OTHER 100% we had 5 calls Total Case That’s Taking Care Of Business
annetteMomma nokesannetteMomma nokes
14:29 12 Sep 16
Jason and his paralegal Lisa were on point and on top of their game when it came to handling my worker's comp. injury case. I tried going it alone and the insurance carrier pushed me around. They denied extra physical therapy. They denied injections the doctor recommended to ease my pain. When I turned my case over to Jason things turned around, QUICK. They were at all times attentive and on top of my case. I cannot recommend Jason and his staff enough. If you are hurt at work, this is the firm you want on YOUR side.
Sheila KirklinSheila Kirklin
23:11 12 May 16
Jason Perkins, was my lawyer in a workers comp. case, my case has settled now, and I am very happy for all Jason and his office hard work on my case, he was always there to help me out with any questions that I had or help I needed. Jason is a excellent lawyer and if I ever need another one I would only go to Perkins,Because I believe they would be able to help me in any situation I am in need of..
Anna PabonAnna Pabon
23:16 13 Sep 15
I recommend Perkins Law Firm. Everyone I came in contact with there was very nice. Kim was very helpful and any time I had a question she made sure I got an answer. Ann Margaret really took the time to explain things to me.

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