With New Years Eve fast approaching some of us may plan to celebrate by setting off some fireworks at the stroke of midnight. To most, this may seem a harmless way to ring in the new year but for many veterans explosions in the middle of the night can cause flashbacks and bring back painful memories. The article below was written by Dana Blado and can be found at http://www.wjfw.com/stories.html?sku=20100702181841.
Fireworks and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
RHINELANDER - July 4th is a holiday when we celebrate our nation's birthday and those who selflessly fought for her. But it can also be a dreaded day for some veterans, especially for someone who's been in combat warfare.
One veteran shares how this holiday can have a different meaning. Jacob Lobermeier served his country in the Middle East as a platoon leader in combat warfare.
While he says he doesn't suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he says the effects of his experiences are long-lasting. "Things that you see, decisions that you make, friends that you've lost. And those things stay with you. You're never the same after as you were before."
And those memories can return in a split second with things like the common bang of 4th of July fireworks. Oneida County Veterans' Service Officer Tammy Walters says this is more common than you may think. "I know veterans that literally dread the 4th of July, dread it. I've had veterans tell me that they won't come to the Memorial Day Ceremony because they know we shoot guns at the ceremony."
It's something Walters says the average person should consider. "If people know that they have a combat veteran living near them, that maybe they talk to them and ask them how it may affect them."
Another reason Gauthier says to be considerate of others, especially veterans. "These large explosions that happen in the middle of the night or when they're sleeping can really ruin their weekend."
It's the little everyday struggles, Jacob says, that can make a big difference. "Being next to like a diesel truck, smelling that exhaust reminds me of waiting to go on patrol with our humveys." They're memories Jacob says never go away, but can easily surface for some on Independence Day.
Tammy Walters with the Oneida County Veterans Office says about 60-80% of veterans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Posted by: Jessica Hadduck