GREAT FALLS- The 4th of July is a time to remember our freedom and celebrate America’s birthday.
However, the way we celebrate can often hurt those who fought to keep that very freedom.
PTSD is a major issue for thousands of military members across the US.
Loud bangs and bright lights can often trigger flashbacks to war, and on the 4th, fireworks can do just that.
PTSD is short for post-traumatic stress disorder and is typically tied to an event in someone’s life that was deeply disturbing.
For veterans, this usually includes memories of war.
Certain sensations, such as the loud bangs and bright lights from fireworks, can remind a veteran of an explosion.
According to the Veterans Affairs Office in Great Falls, everyone can still have a fun 4th of July, with just a quick conversation.
“You know, maybe having that conversation with them and asking them, “”Hey, I’d like to light some fireworks off. You know, I want to be a good neighbor to you. What would you think about that, or how would you feel about that,””and that would at least let them know that you're trying to be respectful for them,” explains Chris Jensen, Director of the Great Falls Veterans Center.
Jensen explains every person's condition is different.
While some might be fine with loud noises and bangs, others might get startled by even the smallest of fireworks.
In the end, it all comes down to having a simple conversation.
While the Veteran’s Affairs office is doing all they can to help these vets cope with their PTSD, it's still important for us as a community to do our part.