WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Although fireworks shows are a Fourth of July staple for many Americans, they can be a nightmare for veterans who suffer from PTSD.
Martín García is the commander of VFW 112. He said veteran’s love to see people celebrate Independence Day, but that fireworks can oftentimes be too much. “It’s just certain noises, certain sounds that may trigger us,” said García.
“I think most veterans do deal with PTSD to a certain extent. During these holidays and I would just say be kind, be courteous and be reticent, of your veterans that live around you, and just always give them that heads up,” continued García.
That warning is even more important after dark. “A lot of us are used to be woken up in the night by loud sounds or explosions and that may trigger a veteran to think that it’s time to defend themselves.”
At Cedar Bluff State Park they will be celebrating vets and pets by removing fireworks altogether.
“Have that safe space for people who, you know, might suffer from PTSD and then again pets with anxiety issues,” said park manager Brian Haug.
Haug said this event was created to show veterans how much they are appreciated. “The sacrifices that they’ve made for us to allow us to have the freedoms that we do have,” Haug said.
Garcia has some advice for those planning to celebrate with loud fireworks. “Talk to your veteran. Engage them. Ask them about their time in service and see what triggers them.”
The Waves of Freedom celebration of vets and pets at Cedar Bluff State Park kicks off tomorrow at 9am. For more details click here.