Veterans With PTSD Want You To Be Courteous This 4th Of July

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The Fourth of July holiday is almost upon us, and for many people, that means that there will be a weekend filled with barbeques and fireworks galore. This may seem like a harmless summer pastime for most people, but there are a small group of people who are so heavily affected by these traditions that they are now asking others to be mindful. This group is U.S. Veterans with PTSD, for whom fireworks can be a triggering sounds.

PTSD affects between 11% to 20% of military members who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan, and many of those diagnosed are currently seeking treatment for the condition. PTSD symptoms include traumatic flashbacks, bad dreams, intense guilt, depression, out-of-body experiences, and outbursts of anger, all of which can be set off by the smallest of things.

On the Fourth of July, many PTSD sufferers mentally prepare themselves for the onset of fireworks, but unexpected noises can still be a triggering event. That is why there is now a group that is passing out signs for veterans with PTSD to post outside of their homes, asking neighbors to be mindful of their condition on the holiday.

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This campaign was started by Shawn Gourley, who explains the intention behind posting these signs.

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“I think people wonder how you can be courteous with fireworks. It’s not like you can make them quieter,” she said.

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“No veteran that served the United States wants to take a freedom away from people, especially fireworks, which represent freedom.

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They don’t want them to stop. What they’re asking for is for people to give them a heads up.”

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For the upcoming holiday, the courteous thing to do is to inform your neighbors if you will be setting off any pyrotechnics, and who knows, you might even end up inviting them to your event.

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