Fourth of July fireworks can have terrifying effect on veterans

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Fourth of July weekend celebrations can have a terrifying effect on some veterans.

“The fireworks this time of year is tough,” Vietnam veteran Barry Rice explained to News 2.

The sights and sounds of the holiday trigger horrific memories for Rice.

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

“Sounds like gunfire or rockets or at night when the fireworks are going off and you see these flashes in the sky, it’s like incoming auxiliary and it very quickly can create flashbacks. And if the flashback gets too bad we might strike out at someone.”

Several times during Rice’s interview with News 2, it was clear that the fireworks startled him.

He says while it may be brief, in that moment the noise brings him back to Vietnam.

“I still have nightmares. I don’t know if I’ll ever get rid of my startle response.”

Brian Sullivan with Addiction Campuses says they treat a number of veterans. He asked that everyone be mindful and considerate of their neighbors.

“It’s all around us. It’s not just in one isolated area where you think a lot of veterans may live,” he said.

Sullivan suggests only shooting fireworks on the 4th when people expect it, not the days leading up to it.

Rice agrees, explaining that knowing when the fireworks will be fired helps him prepare.

He also suggests those that who suffer from PTSD look into organizations like Hillenglade, which offer equine therapy.

Addiction Campuses also has a 24/7 hotline that can be reached at 1-888-614-2251.

For more information on their services, click here.

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