Councilor Urges Respect for Veterans With PTSD During Fourth of July

At the last meeting of the Town Council, Chairman Tom Dolan brought up the subject of fireworks and veterans, and felt the subject needed additional attention.

The Fourth of July has always been known for its festive, energetic, and patriotic nature. Visions of American flags lining the streets, barbeques with families and friends, and dazzling fireworks displays come to mind when we think of the holiday.

And, of course, this day also serves as a great opportunity to honor those who have served in the military and defended the very freedoms that we celebrate. However, while many of us love to take pride in our grand, robust fireworks displays, they may also inadvertently harm our veterans.

In recent years, there has been a nationwide effort to educate and remind citizens about the impact fireworks may have on veterans, particularly those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A prevalent issue since World War I, PTSD can be caused by any number of traumas, resulting in severe mental and physical distress when those who suffer are reminded of the trauma via outside stimuli. Individuals with PTSD may even lash out physically or commit suicide.

According to a survey conducted by the Wounded Warrior Project, a veterans’ service organization, roughly 77% of veterans who were wounded in combat suffer from PTSD. Despite this alarming percentage, the United States lit off 285.3 million pounds of fireworks in 2015. Based on these statistics, it is not difficult to understand why fireworks displays may bring back bad memories for many of New Hampshire’s 100,000 veterans.

This does not mean that you should avoid using fireworks on the Fourth of July all together, though. Simply be courteous about doing so out of respect our veterans. Get to know your local veterans, especially those who may live in your neighborhood. Londonderry’s American Legion Post 27 is an also a great place to meet our veterans, even if only to thank them for their services.

If you do find that you live near veterans and plan on using fireworks on your property, try to give him or her a quick warning during the days leading up in case arrangements need to be made to prepare for the display.

The Fourth of July is a chance to celebrate the pride we have for our country, so be sure to keep those who fought for it in mind.

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