For some veterans with PTSD, fireworks not always a celebration

Fireworks can trigger negative memories of combat for some

Sloane Martin
July 04, 2018 - 8:37 am

With plenty of fireworks shows happening across Minnesota — and even informal demonstrations in thousands of backyards and neighborhoods — local veterans organizations are reminding folks to be courteous of those who might have a tough time dealing with the sounds and sights that most of us find celebratory.  

For veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, fireworks can trigger painful memories of combat. 

"For most veterans it's a time for fellowship, to spend time with family and friends that they maybe served with,"  said Hennepin County Veterans Service Office director Neil Doyle. "For others, depending on their unique experience, they may have some struggles with fireworks, so folks should be a little sensitive to that."

He says people who light up fireworks in their neighborhood should try to be sensitive to their neighbors, and do it during respectful times.

Doyle says the 4th of July is a good time to remind veterans of the help that is available if they struggle with PTSD. 

"This is a good time to capitalize on the fact that there's a lot of treatment options available for veterans who might be struggling from anxiety-related conditions or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is a slew of programs available at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, St. Cloud and a lot of the community-based outreach clinics."