Sacramento, Calif. (KTXL/CNN Newsource) – Fourth of July fireworks are a hallmark of celebrating freedom. But for some who’ve risked their lives defending that freedom, fireworks bring them right back to the horrors of the battlefield.
Vietnam War veteran Richard Tincher said, “It’s my anxiety and my depression, I’m trying to get away from the noise.”
Tincher lives in Mathe Village, a complex built exclusively for military veterans in Sacramento.
He says when he–and many of his neighbors hear the explosions of fireworks–it triggers their post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
He said, “I kind of like turn the TV up, shut the windows.”
At Mather Village, there are cases of PTSD here, some worse than other. But any fireworks show nearby could trigger quite a few people.”
“You’re sitting on your couch and all the sudden there’s this loud explosion outside,” said West Sacramento VFW Commander James Brashear. “Those are the ones that trigger the memories that are putting you back into your deployment time.”
Brashear said some vets avoid big firework shows. But even inside their homes, they can’t avoid hearing loud firework explosions in their neighborhoods. “You’re setting off explosives next to a guy who’s been blown up for a year, it’s gonna cause problems. My heart rate immediately jumps, shortness of breath.”
Brashear thinks most people don’t even realize what veterans are going through.
Both these vets say they don’t expect firework shows to stop, nor do they want that.
But they say if you’re lighting fireworks off near your home, get to know your neighbors.
One of them could be a veteran, re-living the war from their living room.
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