Indepence Day in USA is only a few days away. For most of Americans it means being more mindful of veterans living and dead alike. For my readers in the UK, it probably means the colonials’ celebration of high treason 🙂 Regardless, over the next few days there will be many fireworks displays, barbecues, programs remembering veterans, and so on. For the large part, these are a few days of celebration and reflection.
Yet, for some it is also a stressful time. For many veterans the loud booms of fireworks and the pop of firecrackers can bring out bad memories of being in a war. I didn’t realize how bad this was for many veterans until the last few years when my dad, an Air Force pilot during Vietnam, would make it a point to avoid fireworks displays and sounds by spending the 4th at the family acreage. And he quickly admits he had it easier than most military members.
I’m beginning to see people of my age bracket and younger who did tours in Afghanistan and Iraq avoid fireworks too. At the lower income apartment I live in shooting off fireworks of any kind is specifically banned right in our lease agreement. As I’ve lived in this complex for several years, I saw some World War 2 and Korea veterans just stay in their apartments on the 4th. Now that those men have died it’s the Vietnam era men that are avoiding the fireworks and loud noises. And I didn’t realize what an issue it was for these veterans until a few of them started talking about their personal experiences.
With my schizophrenia I am mildly irritated by the loud booms of firecrackers but I do love the flashes of colors that the night fireworks have. And they aren’t that loud. But I also don’t have the bad memories of being in war that loud booms and explosives can bring back that many of my veteran friends and family have. I just make myself mindful of the generations of veterans, those living and those deceased, who too often suffered in silence with bad memories of war brought back by some of the ways we in USA celebrate our country’s beginnings. I don’t favor banning fireworks, but I would love to see more and more people and public fireworks displays refrain from using the really loud fireworks that sound like gunfire and cannons, if for no other reason out of consideration for the veterans.