For veterans with PTSD, the Fourth of July fireworks can cause flashbacks


The 4th of July can be a tough time for veterans.

They made our freedom possible but sometimes, celebrating that democracy can be too much.

“Mostly because it’s unexpected and we tend to have an exaggerated response to unexpected loud noises,” said 17-year-Army veteran Sean Lathrop.

When we think of Fourth of July, we think about fireworks lighting up the sky. 

But those sights and sounds can be a painful reminder of the past. 

“Not expecting it and having to react to it; makes you want to react the way you were trained to do in combat,” said Lathrop.

The retired Army veteran battles with post-traumatic stress disorder every day.

He does not attend massive fireworks shows, because he doesn’t like the stress it puts on his family. 

“We’ll do our own little fireworks stuff at home but, the difference is I’m controlling it,” explained the Army veteran. “It’s not like the other firework shows that’s unexpected because of I’m in control of it.”

Here in downtown, the Augusta Warrior Project is helping our veterans, especially on independence day.

“This a holiday for everyone,” explained Deputy Director Don Clark. “Those diagnosed with PTSD, there are certain situations they are not going to put themselves in.”

Clark and Lathrop say they want the community to be especially aware of our veterans on this holiday. 

“Just a notification to be able to plan for it, that kind of stuff will be courteous,” said Lathrop.

“Veterans carry it very heavy on their shoulders and in their hearts, the fact we are celebrating our independence as a country,” said Clark.

If you plan to shoot fireworks for the 4th; alert your homeowners’ association. Then the whole neighborhood will know.

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